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*s& 




*%RAV!& 



AGLAVAINE AND SELYSETTE 



THE WORKS OF MAURICE MAETERLINCK 

ESSAYS 

The Treasure of the Humble 

Wisdom and Destiny 

The Life of the Bee 

The Buried Temple 

The Double Garden 

The Measure of the Hours 

Death 

On Emerson, and Other Essays 

Our Eternity 

PLAYS 

Sister Beatrice and Ardiane and Barbe Bleue 

Joyzelle and Monna Vanna 

The Blue Bird, A Fairy Play 

Mary Magdalene 

Pelleas and Melisande, and Other Plays 

Princess Maleine 

The Intruder, and Other Plays 

Aglavaine and Selysette 

HOLIDAY EDITIONS 
Our Friend the Dog 
The Swarm 

The Intelligence of the Flowers 
Chrysanthemums 
The Leaf of Olive 
Thoughts from Maeterlinck 
The Blue Bird 
The Life of the Bee 

News of Spring and Oth2r Nature 
Studies 






84fc 

Ml 3 a 

Rl 



? 






COPYRIGHT, igix 
f\ qODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 






* PREFACE 

O 

I 

It is pore than doubtful whether any 
work of Maeterlinck's, even in its trans- 
lated form, requires any Introduction — ex- 
cept it be in the nature of an apology, on 
the part of the translator, for the inade- 
quacy of his version. But the publishers of 
this book have been insistent that I should 
furnish them with some kind of preface; 
and, after all, there is the comforting re- 
flection that very few people will read it. 
So much has been written about Maeter- 
linck these past years! It is a feature of 
the times we live in that five books are 
written about a great man of letters for 
every one of his. Nor would I have con- 
sented to add to the mass were I not con- 
scious of the fact that, possessing no sort 
of critical faculty, I would attempt neither 
to analyse nor to appraise — but simply, and 
perhaps naively, to admire. I am no longer 
M. Maeterlinck's translator ; that office has 



289941 



VI 



Preface 



devolved upon Mr. Teixeira de Mattos 
and right admirably does he fulfil it. But 
there are many books of the great Belgian's 
that I have rendered into English ; and, be- 
ing a slow worker, loving to linger over 
his fine, melodious sentences, seeking to 
capture, for hours sometimes, the turn of a 
phrase, its harmonious balance and cadence, 
I have lived for a very long time in his 
brain. For the translator who cares for 
his work must, while translating, cease to 
be himself, he must be a reflex of the other, 
trying to think his thoughts, to feel as he 
felt, he must reproduce not only the bare 
words, but the lilt, the flow, the music, the 
hesitation and eagerness — ah, at least he 
must try, and, though he fail, as fail he 
must, there is joy in the trying — as I say, 
he lives in his master's brain, and knows it, 
as none other can know it, who merely reads 
the book. And surely than this brain of 
Maeterlinck's there has rarely been one that 
held more serenity and beauty, nobler won- 
der and sympathy, more dignity or loftier 
truth. 

As I do not intend these few words of 
mine to be in any way a criticism of the 



Preface 



vn 



book, but rather a personal note about the 
man who wrote it, I think I cannot do bet- 
ter than describe my first meeting with him, 
many years ago, when his name was known 
only to the few, who already held him in 
high esteem as a mystic and symbolist, 

II 

It was at a rehearsal of a play of his — 
"Interieur" — that was to be produced by a 
little Independent Theatre Society in Paris. 
The Society in question had very little 
money, but vast stores of enthusiasm; and 
its members were all very young. Those 
were the days when four or five poets, all 
living in garrets and happy if they could see 
a week's money ahead — would promptly 
start a "Revue" should one of their num- 
ber, by some rare stroke of luck, come into 
fifty pounds. There was no lack of oblig- 
ing and complaisant printers — printers in 
Paris are apt to possess quaint sympathy 
with the long-haired, shabby and enthusi- 
astic young poets — the fifty pounds would 
change hands and the "Revue" would start, 
with a great flourish of trumpets, to expire, 



viii Preface 

in a blaze of glory, with the third or fourth 
number. But, in the meantime, there 
would have been an "Editor-in-Chief," 
whom his friends, the other contributors, 
would address as "Cher Maitre" — it is 
surely unnecessary to say that the Editor 
would be the man with the fifty pounds — 
there would have been much junketing, and 
debating as to policy, solemn deliberations 
as to an article to be written, about a 
celebrity of the hour, that should "put him 
in his place" and reassure posterity — and, 
incidentally, much good sterling poetry. 
"Les Jeunes" — ah, Paris is, and always will 
be, the paradise of "Les Jeunes"! They 
grow old, and forsake their haunts and for- 
get to sing; they become respectable, and 
begin to think of money, and position — but 
there are always others ready to take their 
place, and keep up the joyous tradition. 
And, truly, not the tradition that is so 
fondly cherished by the lady novelist who 
writes,^ from a fulness of ignorance, about 
the Latin Quarter. Disreputable they may 
be, the young men, but only because their 
attire is eccentric and their spirits a trifle 
too wild and exuberant; their minds are 



Preface ix 

clean and their ways the pleasant way of 
poesy; and the grisette may be their com- 
panion but not their goddess, who is, always 
and enduringly, the world's great sweetener 
and gentle teacher, that sovereign lady, 
Art. 

Ill 

And here, at the risk of keeping Maeter- 
linck waiting, at his rehearsal, I cannot re- 
frain from describing an evening at Mal- 
larme's, the great, obscure poet who exer- 
cised so mighty an influence over all the 
young men of his time. In a dull little 
street, up three flights of, stairs — in a long, 
narrow, unpretentious sitting-room, the 
furniture all of the simplest — there Mal- 
larme was "At Home," one evening a week, 
to his friends and those whom they chose 
to bring with them. The Master stood in 
front of the fireplace, one of the "anciens" 
seated at each corner ; you were introduced, 
a word said of your own literary endeav- 
our — you were received with the most ex- 
quisite courtesy, welcomed with the Mas- 
ter's beautiful smile — you took your place 
at the long table — and the talk, that your 



x Preface 

arrival had interrupted, soon went, on again. 
It was the business of the "anciens" at the 
corners to set it going, and see that it did 
not flag. And there was one talker only, 
Mallarme. There he stood, with his pipe 
in his hand, that he was never allowed to 
light — for the moment he had finished his 
discourse, and looked for the matches, an- 
other subject was sprung upon him, and he 
eagerly started again. And the talk was 
good, of the best. In a sweet, low voice, 
every sentence issuing perfect and crystal- 
clear, he, whose poetry was of the obscur- 
est, would illumine every theme that he 
handled, give his ripest wisdom and deepest 
thought to the young poets around him, his 
pupils and followers, the boys whom he 
loved and sought only to help. For such 
is the way of Paris, where there are no bar- 
riers set up between the beginner and the 
master, no door to exclude the man who has 
not yet succeeded from the hero of many 
successes. Art is more than a word there, 
more than a cult, it is a brotherhood; and 
the young scribbler may go to bed hungry 
in his attic under the roof, but never need 
he tell himself that he is friendless, or that 



Preface xi 

his poverty denies him the help and advice 
of the high priests of his craft. 

IV 

Marcel Prevost is fond of telling that 
the last rehearsal Dumas Fils attended was 
one of the "Demi-Vierge," which M. Pre- 
vost had adapted for the stage from his 
own novel. He sent the play to Dumas, 
who took a great interest in it, asked the 
author to call on him, gave advice, made 
suggestions, and was as eager for its suc- 
cess as though it had been a play of his 
own. These conditions, I am afraid, do 
not obtain outside Paris. There great 
painters will not turn a deaf ear to the ap- 
peal of any student of promise; they will 
climb up the countless stairs to his studio — 
criticise, point out mistakes in the work, and 
also admire and encourage — and they will 
not fail, if the work be good, to say a word 
in the proper quarter. I write, it is true, 
of the Paris of fifteen years ago — it may be 
that to-day things are no longer the same 
— but, at least, it is pleasant to think that 
there will have been no change. Of all the 
cities in the world, Paris is the one that has 



xii Preface 

its own real artistic atmosphere; and that 
must always endure. It has its love of 
beauty, and its men who put that high 
above all; it is still the land of endeavour, 
and its art is eternally young. The Post- 
Impressionists — how we scoffed at them 
over here! I have seen parties going 
through the gallery where their works were 
being exhibited, saturnine, bilious people 
who had come in groups for once to enjoy 
a hearty laugh, and who vowed that the 
pictures were quite too deliriously funny! 
That is not the way of Paris, the city of 
endeavour, that takes all endeavour seri- 
ously. And it often comes about, in a 
curious way, that what London laughs at 
to-day, it will pay high prices for to-mor- 
row, and talk about with enthusiasm, as a 
new revelation in art. 



But now it is fully time that I went back 
to the rehearsal, where I, who had read 
Maeterlinck's plays, and admired them 
immensely, was to be introduced to their 
author. At the back of the hall, in the 
midst of a crowd of enthusiastic youths, 



Preface xiii 

stood a large, heavily built man, who 
seemed to be surveying the scene with some 
indifference — appeared to welcome the in- 
terruption, to seize gladly the chance to 
get away! Perhaps my shyness appealed 
to him, himself one of the shyest of men — 
or the fact, it may be, that I made no at- 
tempt to say flattering things. Be that as 
it may, in five minutes we were out in the 
street; with a nod here and there he had 
assured the actors that they were all won- 
derful; and, with a great sigh of relief, he 
escaped, and we rambled through Paris, 
and he talked, slowly and hesitatingly at 
first, then with great eagerness, about 
Meredith, Swinburne, Browning, Hardy — 
of any one, except himself. And since then 
we have met very often, and he still never 
talks of himself. For Maeterlinck has 
nothing of the pontiff in him, the scent of 
incense does not tickle his nostrils, he does 
not put himself, or his work, on a pedestal. 
I have another recollection of him when, 
vastly against his will, he was induced, I 
think for the only time in his life, to run 
the gauntlet of the crowd's admiration. It 
was at the first performance of "Pelleas 



xiv Preface 

and Mellsande" at the Lyceum Theatre; 
when the curtain had fallen, amidst great 
enthusiasm, Maeterlinck allowed himself 
to be dragged on to the stage, there to re- 
ceive the congratulations of his admirers. 
Lady after lady was brought up, intro- 
duced, and made her little flattering speech 
— and never was a man more genuinely 
unhappy than our poet ! For to this strange 
creature it meant nothing to shake hands 
with a duchess; and when London host- 
esses tried to lionise him he promptly fled, 
to the amazement of the great ladies who 
could not understand that a mere genius 
should decline the honour of being present 
at one of their "At Homes." 

VI 

Some of his admirers, however, are 
simpler and less exacting. We were at 
Rome together, a few winters ago; and 
staying in our hotel were a cluster of Ameri- 
can girls, eighteen or twenty of them, evi- 
dently a group who were all travelling to- 
gether. It did not take these maidens long 
to discover that the tall, grey-haired man 
with the earnest, simple face was Maeter- 



Preface 



xv 



linck; and, when we went into the dining- 
room, for lunch or dinner, there they all 
were, waiting, and the twenty heads would 
swing round, watching him go into the 
inner room where we had our own meal; 
and, when we came out, though the other 
guests might have all departed, the twenty 
were still there; and to the master, as he 
went out, the same faithful, silent tribute 
of admiration was again offered. But be- 
yond this, nothing — for some days we were 
in the hotel together, and none of them 
spoke to him, or asked for his autograph, 
or made the slightest attempt to approach 
or molest him. One day, the great table at 
which they had sat was empty; their holi- 
day was over, the girl: had gone. And that 
evening a letter was brought Mm, from one 
of them, their leader, perhaps, who had 
kept the others in check — a gentle simple 
letter in which he was told that his "Wis- 
dom and Destiny" was the writer's constant 
companion, the book she loved above all 
others ; that for years she had saved up her 
money to go to Rome, but that greater than 
all her joy at seeing the wonderful city was 
her delight at having seen Maeterlinck, the 



xvi Preface 

man to whom she owed so much. The let- 
ter was unsigned, no address was given, 
there was no demand for a reply; but it 
came straight from her heart, and it went 
to his, and I have rarely known him more 
pleased. And if, by some rare chance, 
these lines should be seen by that Ameri- 
can girl, she will like to know that her little 
tribute of praise was keenly appreciated by 
the man she honoured so highly. 

VII 

An athlete as well as a close student and 
omnivorous reader, his habits ratnaining 
always simple and methodical, he has re- 
tained, to a curious degree, the serenity the 
evenness of mind, that comes to those who 
spend their days far from the noise and 
bustle of towns, as far, also, from the mater- 
ial ambitions of men. He has the smile, 
to this day, of the child; he has the child's 
faculty of wonder. "Wisdom and Des- 
tiny," "The Life of the Bee," "The Blue 
Bird" — in all these there is the brain of a 
man, with the soul of a child, questioning 
Destiny. There are critics who term him a 
mystic, and pass on, satisfied with the label. 



Preface xvii 

But if the word implies anything of mental 
fog or obscurity, then Maeterlinck is none. 
For his mind is of the clearest, the most 
limpid; sunlit, as it were, in every corner. 
Also it has the mighty quality of all great 
minds; it rests on solid arches of its own 
creation ; there are no tottering planks, no 
insecure ways. Where he treads he treads 
steadily, firmly; advances no dubious 
theory, no hesitating doctrine ; the real wis- 
dom is with him, the wisdom born of the 
sweetness of soul. He loves what he writes, 
writes only of what he loves; and, the thing 
once written passes on, indifferent, and 
turns his eyes elsewhere. The author's 
vanity is unknown to him; he reserves his 
enthusiasm for the works of others. And 
the only subject on which you cannot in- 
terest him is precisely the subject of 
Maeterlinck. 

VIII 

He is a man of the theatre; he has the 
dramatic instinct strongly developed. "In- 
terieur," one of his earlier plays, revealed 
him as the possessor, to an extraordinary de- 
gree, of that intuitive technique without 



xviii Preface 

which no man will ever succeed on the 
stage. It is characteristic of him, however, 
that he has never made the slightest at- 
tempt to write a play on the ordinary, ac- 
cepted lines, be these of the most advanced; 
he has created a method of his own, a 
method bristling with difficulties, that be- 
come only too obvious to his imitators! 
But it suits the man; it adapts itself to his 
form of idea; to him it is the one means of 
expression. "Pelleas et Melisande," that 
rare little masterpiece, with its haunting re- 
frains and glimpses of perfect beauty, ex- 
hibits the most amazing stagecraft side by 
side with the most deliberate flouting of 
stage conventions. The action of "Monna 
Vanna" is arrested, again and again, by 
the deliberate utterances of Guido's father, 
whose mature wisdom broods lovingly over 
the play. We may remark, in passing, 
Maeterlinck's fondness for introducing an 
old man into his work ; a mellow, ripe phi- 
losopher, whose lengthy sojourn in this 
world has only filled him with pity, and 
indulgence, and toleration ; who surveys his 
fellows, enslaved as they are by the passions 
he himself has passed through, with the 



Preface 



xix 



gentleness that is born of understanding; 
who never condemns, but meekly offers of 
the fruits of his wisdom, realising that all 
that has happened is only deeply human. 

"The Blue Bird" marked a change; 
here the philosopher in Maeterlinck gave 
place to the child; "The Blue Bird" was a 
frolic, in which he let his imagination and 
playfulness run riot, and have their un- 
checked way. All the quaint humour in 
him, the fun, the comprehension and love 
of children, found expression here; and its 
great success has proved that others have 
felt with him. But it took two years, after 
the play had been written, for any manager 
to believe that it had commercial possi- 
bilities, that it would appeal to the public; 
and even after its successful production in 
Moscow the experts shook their heads, one 
of them, in Paris, going so far as to sug- 
gest that Maeterlinck should call in a 
popular farce-writer as collaborator, to 
bring the thing into tune ! And it is more 
than doubtful whether the play would have 
been seen to this day, outside Russia, but 
for the enthusiasm and enterprise of Mr. 
Herbert Trench, then manager of the 



xx Preface 

Haymarket Theatre, who chanced to be a 
poet as well as a manager. And few 
things have delighted Maeterlinck more 
than the success of "The Blue Bird." 

IX 

It was the direct appeal his play made 
to the great mass of the people that pleased 
Maeterlinck most. He is of those who 
value the crowd, the humbler ones, those 
whom he terms himself "the guardians of 
the watchfires of the tribe" ; and he realised 
the full value of reaching them. And he 
had not, in the current phrase, "written 
down" — no, here was his ripest thought, 
all that was best in him. Had he not, dar- 
ing greatly, let little Tyltyl declare that 
"There are no dead"? Had he not inter- 
woven philosophic ideas into the scheme of 
the play, without thereby hampering the 
joyous spectacle, without puzzling or be- 
wildering either adults or children? He 
recognised, as he should, that this was an 
achievement;, he knew the deep delight 
that comes to the author when he finds him- 
self at one with the people he writes for, 
not the clever ones only, but those, the 



Preface xxi 

great mass, who are not clever — and, 
Heaven knows, none the worse for that! 
The student of Maeterlinck's work will 
find, in various of his essays, the thoughts 
that appear, in a more smiling form, in the 
play; there is one book of his, "The Buried 
Temple," containing much of his deepest 
and wisest, that was published years ago, 
and has never gone to a second edition; 
now this play, that crystallises, as it were, 
more than one essay of the book, goes 
round the world, attracting everywhere 
rapt and delighted audiences. In all the 
cities of England and America, in the re- 
motest places, its reception is always the 
same; and it will remain, for a long time, 
the monument of the simplicity of a man of 
genius, who loved the people for whom he 
was writing. 

X 

"Aglavaine and Selysette" is a work of 
a different order. A study, exquisite and 
delicate, of the eternal triangle, the one 
man and the two women. But here it is 
not as in the ordinary French play that 
deals with this thorny subject; there is no 



xxii Preface 

delirious atmosphere of desire and passion; 
no, here all is subdued and tranquil, human 
emotions vibrate with subtler harmonies, 
nothing is gross, nothing is violent. Sely- 
sette is Meleander's girl-wife; and for all 
that she has a grandmother and a little 
sister, her past is as vague and shadowy as 
that of Melisande. Aglavaine, the majes- 
tic and stately woman whom we find so 
often in Maeterlinck's plays, comes to the 
castle — it is always a castle — and she and 
Meleander love each other, with a love that 
they assure themselves is unlike the love of 
this world. But behind them is Nature, 
with her iron laws; and their love, for all 
their fine aspirations, proves itself only 
human. Ah, the strange, pathetic little 
play, so full of beauty and tenderness ! "Is 
it not strange," Aglavaine says to Sely- 
sette, "I love you, I love Meleander, he 
loves you, too, you love us both, and yet 
we cannot live happily together, because the 
hour has not yet come when human beings 
can thus love each other." No, it is not 
possible — and there is sorrow and disaster, 
and Selysette flings herself from the castle 
turret, and her poor little body lies bruised 



Preface xxiii 

and battered on the courtyard outside. A 
haunting little tragedy, poignant and sad — 
with so much of human struggle and de- 
spair, so much effort wasted, so little 
achieved! Aglavaine has tried to be so 
beautiful and lofty — poor little Selysette 
has admired her so much, and felt, like 
Hedwig in the "Wild Duck," that she must 
offer up her life, so that the others may be 
happy. Never has a more heartrending 
scene been written than the one in the tower 
where Selysette gives her parting instruc- 
tions to little Yssaline, her sister, who un- 
consciously is urging her on to her death. 
A haunting little play! 

XI 

No levity here, no frivolous crowd in 
the background, cheerfully condoning and 
themselves practising the breach of the 
seventh commandment. No, here we see 
lofty souls, struggling loftily — here the 
background is a mystic beauty, for which 
they all are striving. And, deep under- 
neath it, Nature, Fatality, opposing to 
their fond arguments, their choice as- 
pirations, her own overpowering, dynamic 



xxiv Preface 

force. "There where we love each other 
we are higher than ourselves," says Agla- 
vaine when she tells Selsysette of the feel- 
ing she has for Meleander, "there where 
we love each other we are beautiful and 
pure." And again, when Selysette asks 
meekly whether Aglavaine has kissed him, 
she replies "Yes. . . . Because there are 
things that can only be said in a kiss. . . . 
Because the things in us that are deepest 
and purest perhaps will not arise from 
our soul unless a kiss have summoned 
them. ..." Ah no, they believe these 
things, but they are not true; and for all 
their pious desires and strivings, the day 
comes when they have to confess to each 
other, Aglavaine and Meleander, that their 
love is not that of a brother and sister; 
and the tragedy, the inevitable tragedy 
that must attend one of them creeps on, 
slowly and stealthily, inexorably, and seizes 
on the weakest of the three ; and at the end 
we find the unhappy Meleander cursing 
"the beauty that brings unhappiness in its 
train, the wisdom that tries to be too 
beautiful — and, above all, destiny that re- 
mains so deaf to all. ..." 



Preface xxv 

XII 

For here, in its essence, as in his earlier 
plays, we find Maeterlinck's people strug- 
gling, blindly and helplessly, against Fate. 
The fate that makes one law for men and 
women, and admits no exception, not even 
in favour of the loftiest souls, of idealists 
and dreamers. Aglavaine herself has to 
realise that her spacious arguments have 
failed helplessly before life, with its ruth- 
less logic; Selysette tries, too, like the 
others; and her only way is death. The 
bruised little body in the courtyard is the 
achievement of these three people who 
have striven for something that was be- 
yond their power; we are shown that 
what is beautiful cannot take the place of 
what is merely human. Treated as only 
Maeterlinck could treat it, this little play, 
with its half-tones, its strange recurrences 
of phrase and idea, its snatches of song, its 
pale sunlight piercing the gloom, its image 
of little Selysette smiling through her 
tears, and weeping through her smiles, 
grips the heart almost painfully, and stirs 
something that lies very deep. There are 
faults in the play, no doubt; I leave their 



xxvi Preface 

enumeration to others. For me, who love 
it, it remains the moving story of the en- 
deavour, and failure, of noble souls to act 
nobly. 

Alfred Sutro. 



PERSONS OF THE PLAY 
Meleander 
Aglavaine 
Selysette 

Meligrane (Selysette's grandmother) 
Little Yssaline (Selysette's sister) 



AGLAVAINE AND SELYSETTE 

ACT FIRST 

A Room in the Castle 
Meligrane i5 asleep on a high-backed 
chair at the far end of the room. En- 
ter Meleander and Selysette. 

MELEANDER 

I will read you Aglavaine's letter: "Do not 

go out to meet me. Wait for me in 
the room wherein you linger, every 
evening — and thus I shall not come 
upon you d$ a stranger. It is as I 
leave the boat that has brought me to 
you that I write these lines. Our 
crossing was very calm and beautiful, 
but, when I landed, I found the roads 
all sodden with rain; and the sun will 
probably have set ere I behold the 



2 Aglavaine and Selysette 

towers of the old castle where our 
good Selysette has offered shelter to 
her brother's widow. . . . 

> 

SELYSETTE 

(clapping her hands) 

Oh! the sun is setting! . . . Look! — she 
must be near at hand. ... I will see 
whether .... 

i 

MELEANDER 

(staying her with agesture,and continuing 

to read) 

". . . I have only seen you once, Melean- 
der, and it was in the midst of the 
confusion and distraction of my wed- 
ding — my poor wedding, alas ! where 
we beheld not the guest none ever in- 
vite, who yet always usurps the seat 
of the happiness we look for. Only 
once have I seen you, and more than 
three years have passed since then; 
but I come to you as confidently as 



Aglavaine and Selysette 3 

though we two had known each other 
from infancy, and had been rocked to 
sleep in the same cradle. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

(turning round) 
Oh I Grandam is still asleep 1 . . . Ought 
we to wake her when Aglavaine 
comes? . . . 

MELEANDER 

Yes, it is her wish. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Her eyes are almost hidden beneath her 
white hair. . . . She is not happy 
to-night. . . . Oh! I want to kiss 
her. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Be careful you do not wake her too soon. 
. . . (He continues to read) "And, 
coming to you, I know full well that 
it is as a brother you will greet me! 
. . . We said but little to each 



(( 



4 Aglavaine and Selysette 

other, and yet the few words you 
spoke to me were different from all 
those I had heard till then. . . ." 

SELYSETTE 

Do not read so quickly. . . . 

MELEANDER 

(reading) 

. . And besides, I look, forward so 
eagerly to taking Selysette in my 
arms! . . . She must be good, she 
must be beautiful, since she loves you 
and has your love. I feel that I shall 
love her much more than you ever can, 
for I know how to give more love; I 
have been unhappy. . . . And now, 
I am glad to have suffered; I shall be 
able to share with you all that sorrow 
brings us. There are times when I 
think that the tribute I have paid may 
well suffice for the three of us; that 
destiny can have no further claim 



Aglavaine and Selyscttc 5 

upon us, and that we may look for- 
ward to a marvellous life. We shall 
seek happiness, and naught beside. 
We shall so fill ourselves, and all 
around us, with beauty, that there will 
no longer be room for sorrow or mis- 
fortune ; and, would these none the less 
force their entrance, needs must they 
too become beautiful before they dare 
knock at our door." 

{A door opens. Enter little 
Yssaline.) 

YSSALINE 

I have the key, little sister, I have the 
key! . . . 

MELEANDER 

What key ? 

SELYSETTE 

The key of the old tower. 

MELEANDER 

I thought it was lost. . . . 



6 Aglavainc and Selysettc 

SELYSETTE 

I have had another one made. 

MELEANDER 

I hope you will lose that one, too. 

SELYSETTE 

(examining the key) 

Oh! how large it is! ... It does not 
look like the one I lost. 

YSSALINE 

I was there, little sister, when they tried it. 
. . . They opened the door three 
times, then they shut it again. . . . 
It fits much better than the other key, 
which was all rusty. . . . But it 
was hard to close the last time, because 
of the wind, which was pushing from 
the other side. . . . There is a 
great wind to-night. You can hear the 
sea-gulls all round the tower; and the 
doves, too. . . . They have not yet 
gone to sleep. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 7 

SELYSETTE 

They are looking for me; they have not 
seen me up there for a long time — two 
weeks and more. ... I will go to- 
morrow. 

YSSALINE 

With me, little sister? 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, if you will go to bed at once; your 
nurse is waiting. . . . (Yssaline 
goes.) She is beautiful? . . . 

MELEANDER 

Who? 

SELYSETTE 

Aglavaine. 

MELEANDER 

Yes, very beautiful. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Whom is she like ? 



8 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELEANDER 

She is like no other woman. . . . Her 
beauty is different, that is all . . . 
stranger and more ethereal ; it is never 
the same— one might almost say it was 
more manifold . . . it is a "beauty 
along which the soul can pass unhin- 
dered. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I know I am not beautiful. . . . 

MELEANDER 

You will never say that again, once she is 
here. It is impossible to say anything 
one does not believe, or that is useless, 
in her presence. Nothing can live 
near her that is not true. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing can live near her that is not 
true. . 



• • 



MELEANDER 

Selysette? . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 9 

SELYSETTE 

Meleander ? 

MELEANDER 

We have lived together for nearly four 
years, have we not ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It will be four years, when the summer 
ends. 

MELEANDER 

Nearly four years that you have been by 
my side, always beautiful, always ten- 
der and loving, and the soft smile on 
your lips revealed the deep happiness 
within. . . . Tell me, you have not 
shed many tears during these four 
years ? At most some few little tears 
when a pet bird flew away, or your 
grandmother reproved you, or your 
favorite flowers died. But no sooner 
had the bird returned, or your grand- 
mother forgiven you, than you came 
back into the room laughing merrily 



io Aglavaine and Selysettc 

and leapt on my knee, kissing me like 
a little girl home from school. I think 
we may fairly claim to have been 
happy ; and yet there are times when I 
wonder whether we have truly lived 
near enough to each other. ... I 
know not whether it was I who lacked 
the patience to follow you, or you who 
fled too swiftly; tut often, when I 
tried to speak to you as I spoke just 
now, you would seem to reply to me 
from the other end of the world, 
where reasons unknown to me had im- 
pelled you to seek refuge. . . . I do 
not know why this is borne home to 
me so clearly this evening. — Is it be- 
cause Aglavaine lives more freshly in 
my memory? Has her letter, the 
news of her arrival, already freed 
something in our soul? — You and I 
would seem to have loved each other 
as much as it is possible to love. But, 



Aglavainc and Selysette 1 1 

when she is here, we shall love each 
other still more; we shall love each 
other differently, more deeply — you 
will see. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Love her if you will. I shall go away. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Selysette! ... 

SELYSETTE 

I know that I cannot understand. . . . 

MELEANDER 

You do understand, Selysette, and it is be- 
cause I know that you understand, 
though you feign the contrary, that I 
speak to you of these things. . . . 
There are depths in your soul that you 
never reveal to me; nay, you take 
pleasure in hiding them. . . . Do 
not cry, Selysette, I am not reproach- 
ing you. . . . 



12 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

I was not crying. Wherefore should I cry ? 

MELEANDER 

And yet I can see that your lips are trem- 
bling. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

My thoughts were far away. . . . Is it 
true that she has been unhappy? 

MELEANDER 

Yes, she has been unhappy on account of 
your brother. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Perhaps she deserved to be. . . . 

MELEANDER 

I doubt whether a woman can ever deserve 
to be unhappy. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What was it my brother did ? 

MELEANDER 

She begged me not to tell you. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysctte 13 

SELYSETTE 

You have been writing to each other? 

MELEANDER 

Yes ; from time to time. 

SELYSETTE 

You never told me. 

MELEANDER 

When her letters came I have more than 
once shown them to you, but you did 
not seem anxious to read them. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I don't remember. . . . 

MELEANDER 

But I remember it well. ... 

SELYSETTE 

Where was it that you saw her for the last 
time? 

MELEANDER 

Have I not told you I only saw her once ? 
It was in the garden of your brother's 



14 Aglavaine and Selysette 

castle. . . . With great trees 
spreading over us. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

In the evening ? 

MELEANDER 

Yes; in the evening. 

SELYSETTE 

What did she say ? 

MELEANDER 

We said but little to each other. But we 
could see that the lives of both of us 
tended towards the same goal. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Did you kiss each other? 

MELEANDER 

When? 

SELYSETTE 

On that evening. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Yes, when I went away. . . • 



Aglavaine and Selysette 15 

SELYSETTE 

Ah! 

MELEANDER 

I think she will stay but a short time with 
us, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no ; I want her to stay. . . . ( There 
is a noise outside.) There she is! 
(She runs to the window.) There are 
torches in the courtyard. 

(A moment's silence. The great 
door opens and Aglavaine 
appears on the threshold. 
She comes in without saying 
a word, and stands in front 
of Selysette, looking fix- 
edly at her.) 

MELEANDER 

Will you not kiss each other? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes. (She presses a long kiss on Sely- 



1 6 Aglavaine and Selysette 

sette's lips, then goes to Melean- 
der, whom she kisses likewise.) And 
you, too. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I must wake grandam. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(looking at Meligrane) 
How profoundly she sleeps! . . . 

meleander 

She sleeps like this for many hours each 

day. . . . Her arms are paralysed. 

. . . Go close to her; she wishes 
to see you to-night. . . . 

aglavaine 
(taking Meligrane' s hand and bending 

over her) 
Grandmother! . . . 

meligrane 
(awaking) 
Selysette! . . . (She opens her eyes.) 
Oh ! who are you ? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 17 

AGLAVAINE 

Aglavaine. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

I was startled. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

May I kiss you, grandmother? 

MELIGRANE 

You call me grandmother? I cannot see 
you very well. . . . Who is that be- 
hind you ? 

SELYSETTE 

(coming forward) 
It is I, grandam. 

MELIGRANE 

Ah ! it is you, Selysette. ... I could not 
see you. . . . Bring the lamp a lit- 
tle nearer, my child. . . . 

(Selysette brings a lamp, 
whose light falls on Agla- 
vaine. ) 



1 8 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELIGRANE 

(looking at Aglavaine) 
Oh ! you are beautiful ! . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

May I kiss you now, grandmother? 

MELIGRANE 

No; do not kiss me to-night. . . . The 
pain is worse than usual. Selysette is 
the only one who can touch me with- 
out hurting. 

AGLAVAINE 

That is what I want to learn, too — to touch 
without hurting. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Kiss me, Selysette, before I go to sleep 
again, and take away the lamp. . . . 
I was in the midst of a strange 
dream. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selyscttc 19 

SELYSETTE 

(going back with the lamp) 

You must forgive her; she suffers so 
much. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

What is there to forgive, Selysette? You 
have dropped something. . . . 
What is it that has fallen on the floor ? 
(She picks up a key.) Oh! what a 

strange key! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It is the key of my tower. . . . You 
don't know all that it unlocks. 

AGLAVAINE 

It is strange and heavy. ... I, too, have 
brought a golden key; you shall see. 
... A key is the most beautiful of 
all things, so long as we do not know 
what it unlocks. . . • 



20 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

You shall know to-morrow. . . . Did 
you notice, as you came here, a very 
old tower, with its turret in ruins, at 
the far end of the castle ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes; I saw something that seemed to be 
crumbling beneath the sky. The stars 
shone through the crevices in the wall. 

Selysette 
Well, that is it ; it is my tower — an old for- 
saken lighthouse. No one dare go up. 
. . . You have to traverse a long 
corridor, of which I found the key. 
But then I lost it again. . . . Now 
I have had another one made, for I 
am the only one who goes there. 
Sometimes I take Yssaline. Melean- 
der only went once ; he felt giddy. It 
is very high — you will see. The ocean 
stretches before you. It foams all 



Aglavaine and Selysctte 21 

round the tower, except on the castle 
side. And all the birds of the sea live 
in the crevices of the walls. They 
send forth loud cries when they recog- 
nise me. There are hundreds of 
doves, too ; people tried to drive them 
away, but they refuse to leave the 
tower. They always come back. 
. . . Are you tired ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, a little, Selysette. I have had a long 
journey. 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, of course. . . . We will go thither 
to-morrow; and besides, there is a 
strong wind to-night. . . . 

{A silence.) 

MELEANDER 

It is strange, Aglavaine. ... I had so 
much to tell you. . . . But in these 
first moments everything is still, and 



22 Aglavaine and Selysette 

I feel as though there were something 
for which we were waiting. 

AGLAVAINE 

We are waiting for the silence to 
speak. ... 

MELEANDER 

What does it say to you ? 

AGLAVAINE 

It would not be the real silence, Meleander, 
were we able to repeat all that it tells 
us. . . . We have exchanged a few, 
almost meaningless, words — words 
that any one could have spoken — and 
for all that, do we not feel at rest, do 
we not know that we have said things 
to each other that far outvalue our 
words? We have uttered the little 
timid words that strangers speak 
when they meet ; and yet, who can tell 
all that has taken place between the 
three of us? Who can tell whether 



Aglavaine and Selysette 23 

all that has to happen may not have 
been decided beneath one of these 
words? . . . But this much our 
silence has foretold to me : that I shall 
love Selysette like a little sister. 
... It cried that out to me, 
through all my soul, as I took my first 
step into the room; and it is the only 
voice that I have heard clearly. . . . 
(Drawing Selysette to her.) Why 
is it, Selysette, that one has to love you 
so dearly, and that the unbidden tears 
flow forth as one kisses you? . . . 
(She presses a long kiss on her lips.) 
Come, you, too, Meleander. . . . 
(She kisses him likewise.) It was per- 
haps this kiss for which we were all 
waiting, and it will be the seal of our 
silence for the night. . . . 

(They go out.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 25 

ACT SECOND 

Scene I. — A leafy grove in the park 

AGLAVAINE and MELEANDER 
MELEANDER 

For five or six days only have we been liv- 
ing together under this roof, and al- 
ready it seems to me that we must 
have spent our whole lives together; 
that I must have known you before I 
knew myself. All that I am appears 
to result from you; I am more con- 
scious of your soul than of my own, 
you are nearer to me than all that is 
myself. . . . Were you not there I 
should no longer be conscious of my- 
self; it is only in you that I can smile, 
only in you that I can love. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

So it is with me, too, Meleander. . . . 
Your least gesture reveals me to my- 



26 Aglavaine and Selysette 

self; there is not a smile, not a silence, 
not a word that comes from you but 
links me to a newer beauty. ... I 
feel that I flower in you as you flower 
in me; and we are ever springing to 
birth again in each other. . . . Our 
souls speak to each other long before 
the words leave our lips. 

MELEANDER 

The same world is within us, Aglavaine. 
God must have erred when He fash- 
ioned two souls out of our one. Where 
were you all these years of our life 
when neither of us knew of the other's 
existence ? 

AGLAVAINE 

And you, Meleander, where were you, all 
these years that I have been waiting, 
in solitude ? . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 27 

MELEANDER 

I was alone, too, and waiting, but hope had 
left me. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I was alone and waiting, but had never 
ceased to hope. . . . Oh, there are 
times when I feel that it cannot 
be! . . . 

MELEANDER 

I, too, Aglavaine, and it frightens me. . . . 

Aglavaine 
Why should we be frightened? . . . We 
have found each other, what can there 
be to fear ? 

MELEANDER 

Is it not at the very moment of happiness 
that fear should come to us? . . . 
Is that not the most ominous time of 
all? for not a kiss is given but an en- 
emy may be awakened . . . and be- 
sides there is something else. . . . 



28 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

What? 

MELEANDER 

Selysette. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Well? 

MELEANDER 

Have you thought of Selysette? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes. 

MELEANDER 

And does that not trouble you ? 

AGLAVAINE 

No, Meleander, it shall trouble me no 
more. . . . 

MELEANDER 

There may be sorrow in store for her. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Can I not love you like a brother, Melean- 
der? 



Aglavain© and Selysette 29 

MELEANDER 

But if her tears fall? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Let her ascend with us, and her tears will 
soon cease to fall. . . . Why should 
she not strive hand-in-hand with us to- 
ward the love that disdains the petti- 
ness of love? She is more beautiful 
than you believe, Meleander. We 
shall hold out our hands to her; she 
will soon rejoin us, and then she will 
weep no more. . . . And she will 
bless us for the tears she has shed, 
for some tears are sweeter than 

MELEANDER 

Do you believe I can love you like a sister, 
Aglavaine ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Ah! . . . 



/" 



30 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELEANDER 

Aglavaine, do you believe you can love me 
like a brother? 

AGLAVAINE 

Now that you have asked me, I no longer 
seem to know, Meleander. . . . 

MELEANDER 

I cannot believe it. We shall struggle day 
and night; we shall struggle for a 
long, long time; and all that is finest 
in us, all that might have turned into 
exquisite love, into beauty and deep- 
est truth, will be exhausted in this fu- 
tile effort. . . . And the more we 
struggle, the more shall we be con- 
scious of a desire creeping up between 
our two souls like a heavy curtain. 
. . . And all that is best in us will 
perish, because of this desire. . . . 
It may seem to mean so little . . . 
and yet . . . is it not by the kiss we 



Aglavaine and Selysette 31 

give that all things are transformed—- 
stars and flowers, night and morning, 
thoughts and tears ? ... Is the im- 
mensity of the night as clear to the sis- 
ter's eyes as it is to the woman who 
loves ? Let us not bar the door to the 
most beautiful of all truths, Agla- 
vaine. . . . Let not all that is radi- 
ant in our two souls go break itself 
against one petty falsehood. . . . 
You are not my sister, Aglavaine, and 
I cannot love you like a sister. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

It is true that you are not my brother, 
Meleander; and it is here, doubtless, 
that suffering awaits us. . . . 

MELEANDER 

I know it, Aglavaine, but what can we 
do? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

It was destiny brought us together, Mele- 



32 Aglavaine and Selysette 

ander. We recognised each other as 
perhaps two souls have never recog- 
nised each other before. We love; 
and henceforth nothing in the world 
can alter my love for you or yours for 
me. . . . 

MELEANDER 

That I believe, too, Aglavaine. — I see noth- 
ing in the world. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

But if I brought sorrow to one who is in- 
nocent, would I be the same to 
you? . . . 

MELEANDER 

If she be sorrowful, it will only be because 
she has not understood. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Tears are not less bitter because they should 
not fall. . . . 

MELEANDER 

There would be nothing left us but to fly 



Aglavaine and Selysette 33 

from each other, Aglavaine; yet that 
is impossible. ... So beautiful a 
thing was not born only to die ; and we 
have duties towards ourselves. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I believe that, too ; and I believe that there 
is something better to be Hone than to 
fly from each other. ... In the 
meanwhile, if suffering there must be, 
let that suffering be ours. . . . 

MELEANDER 

(taking her in his arms) 
You are beautiful, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(throwing her arms around him) 
I love you, Meleander. . . . 

( They kiss each other. A cry of 
pain is heard, through the 
foliage, and Selysette is 
seen, all dishevelled, flying 
towards the castle.) 



34 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELEANDER 

Selysette! . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes. 

MELEANDER 

She has overheard us. . . . She is flying 
to the castle. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(pointing to Selysette, who is already 

far way) 
Go after her ! . . . Go ! . . . 

(He rushes after Selysette. 
Aglavaine leans against a 
tree and weeps silently.) 
Scene II. — In the depths of the park. Ag- 
lavaine is asleep on a bench, with a 
veil thrown round her head. 

(Enter Selysette) 

selysette 

"Selysette, little Selysette, we must not let 
her cry." . . . He pities me, be- 



Aglavaine and Selysette 35 

cause he no longer loves me. . v . . 
Neither do I love him any more. 
. . . They fancy that I shall 
keep very quiet, and that all they have 
to do is to kiss me with their eyes 
turned away. . . . "Selysette, little 
Selysette." . . . They say that very 
tenderly; oh, much more tenderly than 
they used to. . . . When he kisses 
me now he dare not look at me, or, if 
he does, he seems to be begging for- 
giveness. . . . And while they are 
embracing each other I must crouch 
away and hide, as though I had stolen 
something. . . . They have gone 

out again to-night, and I have lost 
sight of them. . . . "Little Sely- 
sette" is not in the secret ... we 
always smile when we speak to her 
... we kiss her on the forehead 
. . . and bring her flowers and 
fruit. . . . The stranger takes "lit- 



36 Aglavaine and Selysette 

tie Selysette" under her wing . . . 
and we cry when we kiss her, and say, 
"Poor little thing . . . there is 
nothing to be done. . . . She will 
not go away . . . but at least she 
shall not see anything" . . . and 
when her head is turned we take each 
other by the hand . . . yes, yes, till 
the time comes . . . only wait, 
wait. . . . "Little Selysette" will 
have her day, too. . . . She does 
not yet quite know what she ought to 
do, but wait a little ... we shall 
see. . . . (Perceiving Aglavaine 
on the bench. ) There they are ! . . . 
Asleep in each other's arms! . . . 
Oh ! this ! this ! . . . I must . . . 
Yssaline! Grandam! . . . They 
must see . . . they must see this! 
. . . There is no one coming! 
... I am alone, always. ... I 
will. . . . (Going closer) She is 



Aglavaine and Selysette 37 

alone, too . . . was it a ray of the 
moon or her white veil? Perhaps. 
. . . She is asleep. What shall I 
do? . . . Oh, she doesn't know! 
. . . She is on the brink of the well ; 
a sudden turn and she would fall in. 
... It has been raining . . . 
she threw her veil over her head, but 
her bosom is bare . . . she is wet 
through . . . how cold she must 
be . . . this country is strange to 
her. . . . Oh, how she trembles in 
her sleep ! . . . I will put my cloak 
around her . . . (She covers Ag- 
lavaine up and lifts the veil that 
hides her face.) How deep is this 
sleep of hers! . . . She looks as 
though she had been crying . . . 
she does not seem happy . . . she 
seems no happier than I. . . . How 
pale she is; she is crying too, I see. 
. . . She is beautiful. . . . She is 



38 Aglavaine and Selysette 

even more beautiful when she is so 
pale . . . she seems to blend with 
the light of the moon ... I must 
wake her gently . . . she might be 
frightened and fall into the well . . . 
(Bending tenderly over her.) Agla- 
vaine . . . Aglavaine, . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(waking) 
Ah! . . . how light it is. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Be careful . . . you are on the edge. 
. . . Don't turn round, you would 
be giddy. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Where am I ? 

SELYSETTE 

By the side of the castle well. Did you not 
know? . . . You should not come 
here alone. One has to be very care- 
ful ; this spot is dangerous. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 39 

AGLAVAINE 

I did not know ... it was so dark. 
... I saw the boxwood hedge, and 
a bench. ... I was weary, and 
sad. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Are you cold? Draw the cloak around 
you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Whose cloak is this? Yours, Selysette? 
You put it over me while I was sleep- 
ing? You must be cold, too. . . . 
Come hither, let me wrap it round you, 
too. . . . You are trembling more 
than I. . . . (Turning round.) 
Oh! . . . Now that the moon has 
risen I can see the glimmer of the 
water between the walls. . . . If I 
had moved . . . and it is you. 
. . . (She throws a long look at 
Selysette and puts her arms around 
her.) Selysette. . . . 



40 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

Let us not stay here. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

We should never resist moments such as 
these, Selysette. . . . They do not 
come a second time. ... I have 
seen your soul, Selysette, for just now 
you loved me, though it was against 
your will. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Let us go, Aglavaine . . . there is fever 
about this place. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I beseech you, Selysette, do not try to es- 
cape me at the very moment when all 
that is deepest in you is striving to- 
wards me. . . . Do you think we 
shall ever be nearer to each other? 
. . . Shall we allow little childish 
words, little words that are as thorns, 
to steal between these poor hearts of 



Aglavaine and Selysette 41 

ours ? . . . Come close to me, Sely- 
sette, come close to me in the night 
and let my arms enfold you; and it 
matters not though you find no words. 
. . . Something is speaking within 
you, and I hear it as you hear it. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

(bursting into tears) 
Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Aglavaine's tears are falling, too, Selysette. 
. . . She is weeping because she 
too is ignorant of the thing that 
should be done, the thing that should 
be said. . . . We are alone here, 
my poor Selysette ; we two are all alone 
here in the darkness, clinging close to 
each other . . . and the happiness 
or unhappiness that must befall is be- 
ing decided within us, at this very mo- 
ment, perhaps. . . . But what is to 



42 Aglavaine and Selysette 

be none can tell. And I have only my 
tears with which to question the fu- 
ture. I held myself the wiser of the 
two, but now that the moment has 
come that calls for wisdom I feel that 
my need of you is greater than your 
need of me. And therefore do my 
tears flow, Selysette, and therefore do 
I press my lips upon yours, so that we 
two may be as near as we possibly can 
to that which is being decided in the 
depths of us. I hurt you sorely this 
morning. . . . 



SELYSETTE 

No, no ; you did not hurt me. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I hurt you sorely this morning, and my one 
desire is never to hurt you again. But 
how can we help giving pain to those 
we love most? . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 43 

SELYSETTE 

(sobbing) 
Aglavaine ! 

AGLAVAINE 

What is it, Selysette? You are trembling. 

SELYSETTE 

It was the first time I had seen you 
asleep. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You will often see me asleep, Selysette. 

SELYSETTE 

And no one had ever told me anything. 
... No one, no one! 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, yes, my poor Selysette, they will doubt- 
less have told you the things they tell 
to all. But you had not yet learned to 
listen. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It was not the same thing. . . . Never, 
never. . . . 



44 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

Because you did not listen, Selysette; and 
look you, it is not only the ear that lis- 
tens ; and the things that I am saying 
to you now have not been truly heard 
save by your heart alone, and your 
heart has flung the words aside, and 
gathered only that I love you. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I love you, too. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

And therefore have you listened to me, and 
understood so well all that I cannot 
say. It is not only our hands that are 
joined at this moment, my poor Sely- 
sette. . . . But Meleander loves 
you, too. Why would you not listen 
to him? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

He is not like you, Aglavaine. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 45 

AGLAVAINE 

He is better than I; and more than once 
must he have spoken to you far more 
wisely than I could speak. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no! it is not the same thing. . . . 
Listen, I cannot quite explain what I 
mean. When he is there I hide within 
myself. ... I keep back my tears. 
... I do not want him to think I 
understand. . . . My love is too 
great. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Say on, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It is so difficult. . . . You will never un- 
derstand, and I know not how to tell 
you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE * 

Though I fail to understand your words, I 



46 Aglavaine and Selysette 

shall know what your tears are say- 
ing. ... 

SELYSETTE 

Well, there it is, Aglavaine. ... I do 
not want him to love me for anything 
else. ... I want him to love me 
because it is I. . . . Oh, it is im- 
possible to say quite what I mean! 
... I do not want him to love me 
because I agree with him, or because I 
can answer him. ... It is as. 
though I were jealous of myself. Can 
you understand a little, Aglavaine ? 

AGLAVAINE 

When we look into a crystal vase we can 
soon tell whether there be pure water 
within, Selysette. . . . You were 
afraid lest he should see how beautiful 
you are. . . . This fear comes 
often to those who love, and know not 
why they fear. . . . We are too 



Aglavaine and Selysette 47 

anxious, perhaps, that the others 
should divine. . . . And it is a fear 
that should be overcome. . . . For 
look you, Selysette, by dint of hiding 
from others the self that is in us, we 
may end by being unable to find it our- 
selves. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I know I am not wise, Aglavaine. . . . 
I would have him love me, even 
though I knew nothing, though I did 
nothing, though I saw nothing, though 
I were nothing. ... I feel that I 
would have him love me though I no 
longer existed. . . . And so I hid, 
I hid. ... I wanted to keep every- 
thing hidden. . . . It is not his 
fault, Aglavaine. . . . And so I 
was glad when he shrugged his shoul- 
ders or shook his head as he kissed 
me . . . much happier than when 
he admired me. . . . But I suppose 



48 Aglavaine and Selysette 

I am wrong in wishing to be loved like 
this? . 



• • 



AGLAVAINE 

Who can tell how we should love, Sely- 
sette? . . . Some love one way, 
some another; love does this or that, 
and it is always well, because it is love. 
... In the very heart of us have 
we built love's cage, and we eye it as 
we would a vulture or strange eagle. 
. . . The cage is ours, but the bird 
belongs to none. . . . There is 
nothing in the world that is further 
from us than our love, my poor Sely- 
sette. Needs must we wait, and try 
to understand. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You love him, Aglavaine ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Whom, Selysette? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 49 

SELYSETTE 

Meleandcr. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

How can I help loving him ? 

SELYSETTE 

But do you love him as I love him ? 

AGLAVAINE 

I try to love him as I love you, Selysette. 

SELYSETTE 

But if your love for him became too 
great? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I do not think one's love can ever be too 
great. 

SELYSETTE 

But if he loved you more than he loves me? 

AGLAVAINE 

He will love in you what he loved in me, 
for it is all one. . . . There is not 
a creature in the world so like to me 
as Meleander. How could he not 



50 Aglavaine and Selysette 

love you, seeing that I love you ? And 
how could I love you if he did not? 
He would no longer be like himself, or 
like me. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

There is nothing in me that he can love, 
and you know so much that I shall 
never know. . . .. 

AGLAVAINE 

Ah, Selysette, believe me when I tell you 
that all my knowledge may well be 
worth no more than what you deem 
your ignorance. ... I shall show 
him that you are more beautiful than 
he thought, that your feelings lie far 
deeper, too. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Can you bring about that he will still love 
me when you are there? 

AGLAVAINE 

Were he no longer to love you because of 



Aglavaine and Selysette 5 1 

my being here, I would go away at 
once, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I will not let you go away. . . ,. 

AGLAVAINE 

And yet that would have to be, for I should 
no longer love. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It would make me very unhappy, Agla- 
vaine. . . . Oh, I am beginning to 
love you, to love you ! . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I have loved you a long time. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I have not ; and when I first saw you I did 
not love you, though I loved you all 
the same. . . . There was a mo- 
ment when I wanted . . .oh! 
wicked things, very wicked. . . . 
But I did not know that you were like 



52 Aglavaine and Selysette 

this. I should have been wicked had 
I been you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

No, no, Selysette ... in your real self 
you would never have been wicked, 
but, being unhappy, you would not 
have known how to be good. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I should like to kiss you again, Aglavaine. 
. . . It is strange; at first I could 
not kiss you. . . . Oh ! I was afraid 
of your lips ... I know not why 
. . . and now. . . . Does he of- 
ten kiss you ? 

AGLAVAINE 

He? 

SELYSETTE 

Yes. 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, Selysette, and I kiss him, too. 

SELYSETTE 

Why? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 53 

AGLAVAINE 

Because there are things that only a kiss can 
tell. . . . Because it is perhaps only 
when summoned by a kiss that all that 
is deepest and purest issues forth from 
our soul. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You can kiss him when I am there, Agla- 
vaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

If you wish it I will never kiss him again. 

SELYSETTE 

(suddenly bursting into tears) 
And you can kiss him when I am not there. 
. . . I am glad I awakened you, Ag- 
lavaine. . . . 

(She leans on Aglavaine's 
shoulder and sobs softly.) 

AGLAVAINE 

I am g^ad I awakened you, Selysette. 
. . . Come, let us go. . . . It is 



54 Aglavaine and Selysette 

well not to linger too long in a spot 
where one's soul has been happier than 
a human soul may be. . . . 

( They go out together with their 
arms about each other.) 

Scene III. — A room in the castle 

Meligrane and Selysette are at the far 
end in the shadow. 

MELIGRANE 

It is too much for you, my poor Selysette, 
say what you will. . . . You shake 
your head, but at this very moment 
you are wiping away your tears. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

But, grandam, have I not told you that it 
is only because I am happy that my 
tears flow? . . . 

MELIGRANE 

When people are happy they do not cry 
like that. .  , 



Aglavaine and Selysette 55 

SELYSETTE 

Oh, yes, they must; otherwise, why should 
I be crying? . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Listen to me, Selysette. . . . Just now I 
heard all you had to tell me about Ag- 
lavaine. I cannot speak as she does. 
I am an old woman who knows but 
little, yet I have suffered, too, and you 
are all I have in the world. . . . 
There are truths in these things, let me 
tell you, that may, perhaps, not be as 
beautiful as those whereof Aglavaine 
speaks; but it is not always the most 
beautiful truths that are right, and 
the oldest and simplest that are 
wrong. . . . One thing is very 
clear to me, my poor Selysette; that, 
for all your smiles, your cheek is ever 
growing paler and paler, and no 
sooner do you believe you are alone 



56 Aglavaine and Selysette 

than your tears begin to flow. . . • 
(Aglavaine enters, unper- 
ceived, at the back of the 
room.) 

MELIGRANE 

. . . And tell me how you think all this 
can end. ... I have turned it over 
patiently, sitting here in this corner of 
mine, and I am doing what I can to 
speak calmly, though I grieve to see 
the suffering that has come to you, and 
that you have done nothing to deserve. 
There are only two human solutions to 
sorrows such as these ; either must one 
of you die or the other go away. 
. . . And who should go away, if 
not the one whom destiny sent too 
late? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Why she, rather than the one who came too 
soon? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 57 

AGLAVAINE 

(coming forward) 
One cannot come too soon, my poor Sely- 
sette . . . one comes when the hour 
has sounded, and I think our grand- 
mother is right. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

If she be right there is much unhappiness 
before us. . 



• • 



AGLAVAINE 

And if she be wrong, there will still be 
tears. . . . Adieu, Selysette. It is 
late; Meleander is waiting for 
you. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Will you not come and embrace him with 
me, Aglavaine? 

AGLAVAINE 

I shall never kiss him again, Selysette. . • • 

SELYSETTE 

What has happened, Aglavaine? Your 



58 Aglavaine and Selysette 

eyes are shining. You are keeping 
something from me. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

My eyes are shining because I have no 
longer anything to keep back, Sely- 
sette. . . . But a few moments ago 
I realised how far deeper his love lay 
for you than he imagined. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Did he say so? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Nay, if he had said so I should not have 
been so sure. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

And you, Aglavaine, does he not love you 
any more? 

AGLAVAINE 

He loves me less than he loves you, Sely- 
sette. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 59 

SELYSETTE 

Oh ! my poor Aglavaine ! . . . But it is 
impossible. . . . Why should he 
love you less? Tell me what to do. 
. . . Shall I stay with you ? . . . 
I will tell him. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

No, no . . . go to him, Selysette . . . 
never shall I be happier than I am to- 
night. . . . 

{They kiss each other silently 
and go out by different 
doors.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 63 

soul still deems itself happy. . . . 
But enough of this ; tell me first of all 
what it is that distresses you to- 
night. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Aglavaine is going. . . . 

MELEANDER 

.Who? — Aglavaine? Did she say so to 
you? 

SELYSETTE 
MELEANDER 

When ? . . . And why is she going ? 

SELYSETTE 

She did not say . . . but she will cer- 
tainly go; for now she thinks it is 
right, and that it should be done . . . 
and I am asking myself whether it 
would not be better that I should go 
instead. . . . 



64 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELEANDER 

Who? — You, Selysette? — but what can 
have happened ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing has happened, Meleander; and I 
beseech you, say not a word of this to 
Aglavaine — you would only call forth 
her tears, though there be no cause for 
them. . . . But, you see, Melean- 
der, I have been thinking these things 
over, too, while you and she have been 
together and I sat there by the side 
of our grandmother . . . and when 
you two came back, you were always 
so happy, so united, that every one 
was compelled to be silent, as you 
drew near. I have often said to my- 
self that I am only a poor little crea- 
ture who could never follow in your 
footsteps; but you have both been so 
good to me that I did not realise this 



Aglavaine and Selysette 65 

as soon as I should, and you have of- 
ten wanted me to go with you, because 
I was sad. And when I was there, 

each of you seemed very lighthearted, 
but there was not the same happiness 
in your souls, and I was between you 
like a stranger shivering with cold. 
And yet it was not your fault, nor was 
it my fault either. I know full well 
that I cannot understand ; but I know 
also that this is a thing that has to be 
understood. . . . 

MELEANDER 

My dear, dear and good Selysette . . . 
what is it that you think you do not 
understand? — Do you imagine that 
we understand something that you do 
not ? . . . It is always the soul that 
knows how to display itself that at- 
tracts us, but the one that hides is no 
less beautiful; nay, it may well be 



66 Aglavaine and Selysette 

more beautiful, by dint of its very un- 
consciousness. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no; though I tried my hardest, there 
would always be a difference, Melean- 
der; and whenever something I do 
pleases you, it is only because I have 
been trying to imitate Aglavaine. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Oh, Meleander, I did not say that to re- 
proach you . . . did you think it 
was meant as a reproach? I am no 
longer as I used to be, and I shall 
never reproach any one again. Even 
I myself cannot tell why I have 
changed like this, and if any one had 
told me, a little time ago, that the sad- 
ness would bring happiness with it, 
and that I should one day press my 



Aglavaine and Selysette 67 

lips on the lips of the woman you were 
to love — if any one had told me this, 
I should never have believed it; and 
yet it has all come to pass and I can- 
not help it. . . . And though you 
tell me that you love me, thinking thus 
to drive away my sadness, you can 
never say to me the things you say to 
Aglavaine. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Perhaps I could not say the same things, 
Selysette. The things that we really 
wish to say can never be put into 
words, and it may be that when we 
wish to speak very earnestly to one we 
love, we are but replying to questions 
that the ears cannot hear. And never 
do two different souls ask the same 
questions. And therefore, though we 
know it not, are our words never the 
same. . . . But the questions that 
your candid soul puts to me, my poor 



68 Aglavaine and Selysette 

Selysette, are as beautiful as the ques- 
tions of Aglavaine's soul. . . . 
They come from another region, that 
is all. So let that not sadden you, 
Selysette. . . . Come, give me your 
lips. ... I kiss you on your soul 
to-night, Selysette. . . . Come, 
mid-night is striking. . . . Let us 
go and see whether Aglavaine be still 
sobbing in her sleep. . . . 

(They go out with their arms 
about each other.) 

Scene II. — A room in the castle 
(Enter Aglavaine and Meleander) 

AGLAVAINE 

Do you hear that door close? 

MELEANDER 

Yes. 

AGLAVAINE 

It is Selysette. . . . She heard us coming 



Aglavaine and Selysette 69 

and wished to leave us alone to- 
gether. . . . 

MELEANDER 

She said to me that she would be going to 
her tower this morning ; they have told 
her of a great strange bird. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I am certain she must have been here ; the 

whole room seems to be awaiting her 

return. . . . Look at the little 

work-things she has left by the win- 
dow . . . the skeins of silk, the 
jewels, the gold and silver 

threads. . . . 

MELEANDER 

And here is her ring with our names in- 
scribed on it. . . . And there are 
violets — and here is her handkerchief. 
. . . {He takes the handkerchief 
and trembles as he touches it.) 
Ah! . . . 



jo Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

What is it? . . . 



MELEANDER 

{hands her the handkerchief) 
Here. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 
Ah! . . . 

MELEANDER 

It is still warm with her tears. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You see, Meleander ... as she will not 
speak, here are these smallest things of 
all that speak for her, and tell me it 
is time. . . . {She takes the hand- 
kerchief. ) Give it to me, Meleander. 
. . . Poor little witness of all that 
is hidden from us, not to understand 
thee one must be dead indeed. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Aglavaine. . . . 

{He tries to kiss her.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 71 

AGLAVAINE 

Do not kiss me. . . . Love her well, 
Meleander. . . . 

MELEANDER 

I do not know what to believe, Aglavaine. 
. . . There are times when I seem 
to love her almost as much as I love 
you, and times when I love her more 
than you, because she is further from 
me, or that I understand her less. 
. . . And then, when I see you 
again, she disappears, I no longer am 
conscious of her. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I know that you love her, Meleander, and 
therefore I must go. . . . 

MELEANDER 

But it is only in you that I can love her, Ag- 
lavaine, and when you are far away, I 
shall love her no longer. 



j 2 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

I know that you love her, Meleander, and 
so well do I know it that I have more 
than once envied the poor child the 
love that you gave her. . . . Ah! 
do not think I am perfect! ... If 
Selysette is no longer as she seemed, I 
too have changed since I have lived 
among you. When I came I was wiser 
than one had need to be. I told my- 
self that beauty could not be blamed 
for the tears it caused to flow, and I 
believed the goodness vain that had 
not wisdom for its guide. But now I 
realise that true goodness is human 
and foolish, and stands in no need of 
wisdom. ... I thought myself the 
most beautiful of women; I have 
learned that the feeblest of creatures 
are as beautiful as I, and they know 
not of their beauty. . . . When I 
look at Selysette, I ask myself whether 



Aglavaine and Selysette 73 

the timid efforts of her tender soul be 
not greater, and a thousand times 
purer, than anything I can do. There 
is something in my heart whispers me 
that she is unspeakably beautiful. She 
has only to stretch out her hands, and 
they come back laden with her heart's 
treasures, and she offers the priceless 
gems as tremblingly as might a little 
maid who was blind, and knew not 
that her two hands were full of dia- 
monds and pearls. . . . 

MELEANDER 

It is strange, Aglavaine. . . . When you 
speak to me of her I admire you and 
you only, and love you more and more. 
. . . You praise her, but the praise 
falls back on you, and nothing in this 
world can make it otherwise. My 
love for her can never approach my 
love for you, even though a God so 
willed it. . 



. • 



74 Aglavaine and Selysctte 

AGLAVAINE 

When I came here, I believed that all 
things were possible, and that no one 
need suffer. . . . But now I see 
that life refuses to conform to our 
plans, be they never so beautiful. . . . 
And I feel too that were I to linger by 
your side and cause others to suffer, I 
should no longer be what you are, nor 
would you be what I am, and our love 
would no longer be the same as our 
love of to-day. . . . 

MELEANDER 

It may be so, Aglavaine. . . . But, for 
all that, should we not be in the 
right? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Ah, Meleander, it matters so little whether 
one be right or not ! Better, I think, 
be wrong all one's life than bring tears 
to the eyes of those who are not in the 



Aglavaine and Selysette j$ 

right! ... I too know all that 
might be said; but why say it, seeing 
that we know full well that it can no- 
wise alter the deeper truth that will 
have none of our most beautiful 
words. . . . It is this we must lis- 
ten to, this truth that disdains fair 
speeches! Notwithstanding all that 
we say and do, it is the simplicity of 
things that directs our life; and to 
struggle against that which is simple * 
is only to court failure. . . . Why 
were we made to meet, you and I, 
when it was too late? Who knows? 
Who would dare to say that destiny . 
and Providence are not one ? . . . 

MELEANDER 

{clasping her in his arms) 
I love you, Aglavaine; and it is the best 
love of all that is coming upon 
us. . . . 



y6 Aglavainc and Selysctte 

AGLAVAINE 

{putting her arms around his neck) 
I love you, Meleander, and the love that is 
coming upon us is the love that never 
dies. . . . 

{A silence.) 

MELEANDER 

Have you given a thought to what our life 
will be in the time to come, when we 
shall be far away from each other, 
when all that will remain of this great 
love of ours will be the faint memory 
that will fade away like all memories ? 
What shall I be doing next year? 
What will you be doing next year, out 
yonder? . . . The weary days and 
months will frown upon us as we 
stretch out arms to each other across 
the emptiness. . . . For all that we 
say that our love will remain un- 
changed through the years that will di- 



Aglavaine and Selysctte 77 

vide us, and the forests and trees that 
will stretch between, this poor life of 
ours is too full of moments when the 
tenderest recollection yields before the 
absence that lasts too long. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I know it, Meleander. . . . Here, we 
might be happy; there, unhappiness 
most assuredly awaits us. . . . And 
none the less do we both feel that the 
thing which I am doing is the thing 
which should be done. . . . And, 
were you able to pronounce a word 
that would keep me here, you would 
not say that word. . . . Needs 
must those who love that for which 
others care not, have sorrows that 
others cannot conceive. There is no 
reward, my poor Meleander, but we 
two look for none. 

(They go out.) 



y$ Aglavainc and Selyscttc 

Scene III. — At the foot of a tower 
{Enter Aglavaine and Meleander) 

AGLAVAINE 

'Twas not a moment ago that I saw her. 
She was at the top of the tower, sur- 
rounded by screaming sea-gulls. For 
the last two or three days she has 
spent most of her time up there. And 
I know not what strange shadow it 
throws across my soul. She seems to 
be less unhappy, but at the same time 
more troubled in her mind, and it is as 
though some plan were being pre- 
pared in that profound little heart of 
hers. . . . 

MELEANDER 

She seems to be smiling at her former life 
— at the Selysette of old. . . . 
Have you not noticed that there is al- 
ways a song on her lips? ... A 
mysterious light seems to shine upon 



Aglavaine and Selysette 79 

her as she walks before us. . . . It 
would be better not to speak of your 
departure till she is calmer; better to 
wait till all that is now transforming 
her has taken deeper root in her 
soul. ... 

AGLAVAINE 

No; I shall tell her to-day. . . . And 
as to what should be said to her, I 
have thought that over too, and at 
first I imagined it would be well to 
conceal the truth, so that she should 
suffer less. . . . Do not smile, 
Meleander. . . . There is so little 
of the ordinary woman in me that you 
may well be surprised to find that I 
am like other women in this — that in 
the depths of my heart I, too, possess 
their feeble, tortuous wisdom — and 
that when love commands it, false- 
hood comes to me as readily as to my 
sisters. ... So I had made up my 



80 Aglavaine and Selysette 

mind to tell her that I no longer loved 
you, that I had deceived myself, that 
your love for me was dead too, and 
countless other little things that would 
have lessened me in her eyes, and thus 
lessen her grief, too. But in truth, 
when those great pure eyes of hers 
confronted me, I felt that it was not 
possible, because it was not beautiful. 
. . . Listen. ... I hear her; 
she is coming down the tower-stairs, 
singing. . . . Leave us, Melean- 
der ; I must speak to her alone, for she 
says things to me that she cannot yet 
say to you ; and besides, it is only when 
two people are alone together that 
truth descends from its very fairest 
heaven. . . . 

(Meleander goes. A silence; 
then the voice of Sely- 
sette is heard as it gradu- 
ally comes nearer.} 



Aglavaine and Selysette 81 

The voice of Selysette 

When forth her love went 
(I heard the door close) 
When forth her love went, 
She smiled. . . . 

When back he did fare 
(I heard the lamp burn) 
When back he did fare 
Another was there. . . . 

And I could see Death 
(I heard her soul moan) 
And I could see Death 
That still watches her breath. . . . 
(Selysette comes in) 

AGLAVAINE 

Oh, Selysette, how bright your eyes are this 
morning! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It is because a beautiful thought has come 
to me, Aglavaine. . . . 



82 Aglavaine and Selysctte 

AGLAVAINE 

Tell it to me; we must never keep back a 
beautiful thought, for all the world is 
the happier for it. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I cannot tell it to you yet. . . . Little 
Selysette has her secret too, and a se- 
cret it must remain ! . . . But what 
would you have done had you been 
Selysette — what would you have done 
if another Aglavaine, even more 
beautiful than you, had appeared one 
day and thrown her arms around 
Meleander ? 

AGLAVAINE 

I think I should have tried to be happy — 
to feel that more light had flown into 
the house, and I should have tried to 
love her even as you love me, Sely- 
sette. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 83 

SELYSETTE 

You would not have been jealous? 

AGLAVAINE 

I cannot tell, Selysette ... in the depths 
of my heart, perhaps . . . for one 
moment . . . but I should have 
recognised that it was unworthy, and 
I should have tried to be happy. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I am going to be happy, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Not for one single instant shall you ever be 
unhappy again. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I should be perfectly happy if I were only 
sure that this idea of mine was 
good. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

So there is something you mean to hide 
from me, Selysette ? . . . 



84 Aglavaine and Sclysette 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, but only till it has become very beauti- 
ful. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

When will it be very beautiful? 

SELYSETTE 

When I know . . . when I know. 
. . . Little Selysette can be beauti- 
ful too . . . you will see, you will 
see. . . . Oh you will love me much 
more, both of you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Is it possible to love you more than we do, 
Selysette? ... 

SELYSETTE 

I would so dearly like to know what you 
would do, if you were I? 

AGLAVAINE 

Tell me then, Selysette. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 85 

SELYSETTE 

If I were to tell you it would no longer be 
the same, and you could not tell me 
the truth. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Do I not speak the truth ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, I know ; but here you could not. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You are strange to-day, Selysette ; take care, 
for it may be that you are wrong. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no ; let me kiss you, Aglavaine . . . 
every kiss will whisper to me that I 
am not wrong. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

There is a strange brightness in your eyes, 
my little Selysette ... as though 
your soul were leaping within 
you, 



i. * • • 



86 Aglavaine and Sclysctte 

SELYSETTE 

And your eyes are brighter to-day, too, 
though you try to hide them. . . ; . 

AGLAVAINE 

I also have something to say to you, Sely- 
sette. . 



• • 



SELYSETTE 

Oh what is it, Aglavaine? . . . you look 
as though you were afraid, as well as 
I. . . . Can it be the same 
thing? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

What thing, Selysette ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing, nothing. ... I was merely 
. . . tell me what it is, quickly. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I am afraid it may distress you, Selysette, 
though it ought to bring happiness to 
you. 



i. • • . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 87 

SELYSETTE 

I shall never shed another tear, Agla- 
vaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(seizing her arm) 
What does this mean, Selysette? you said 
that so strangely. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no ... I shall not cry any more, 
that is all ; is that not as it should be ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Let me look into your eyes. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Look, look . . . tell me what you 

0VV« ... 

AGLAVAINE 

For all that we say the soul shows itself in 
the eyes, it seems to vanish as we gaze 
into them. . . . And as I stand, 
with the fears I dare not speak of upon 



88 Aglavainc and Sclysette 

me, before the limpid waters of your 
eyes, it is they that seem to question 
me, and to murmur timidly: "What 
dost thou read?" instead of answering 
the question I cannot frame. . . . 

{A silence.) 

SELYSETTE 

Aglavaine? ... 

AGLAVAINE 

Selysette? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What was it you were going to tell 

me? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Come to me, little Selysette! Alas! but a 
little more and I had taken from you 
all you had in the world. . • . 

SELYSETTE 

You are sad, Aglavaine? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Let us sit here, at the threshold of your 



Aglavaine and Selysette 89 

tower, and let your lips be close to 
mine, as on that evening when we 
spoke to each other for the first time 
... do you remember that evening 
by the well ? More than a month ago, 
my poor Selysette; many things have 
died since then, many sprung to life, 
and a little more light has come unto 
the soul. . . . Not many more mo- 
ments such as this will be vouchsafed 
to us, for to-morrow I wend my way 
from amongst you, and everything 
that we do for the last time of all 
seems so grave and solemn to these 
poor hearts of ours. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You mean to go to-morrow ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, to-morrow, Selysette: it was that I 
wanted to tell you. At first I thought 
it would be best to keep back the truth, 



90 Aglavaine and Selysette 

so that the sorrow should not come 
upon you all at once. . . . But 
when I thought of you, I felt at once 
that it could not be. . . . And 
therefore I have come to tell you that 
to-morrow I shall go from here in or- 
der that you may be happy, and I tell 
it you in all simplicity, content that 
you should know how my departure 
saddens me, content even that you 
should share in the sacrifice ; for we are 
all three making this sacrifice, and 
making it for something that, name- 
less though it be, is yet far stronger 
than we. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Do not go to-morrow, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Why not to-morrow, since go I must ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I ask you not to go till I have told what 
I have to tell. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 91 

AGLAVAINE 

Will you tell me soon? 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, for now I am sure. . . . And does 
Meleander know what you have just 
now said to me ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes. 

SELYSETTE 

I am no longer sad, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

What would you have done, Selysette, if I 
had gone away without telling you ? 

SELYSETTE 

I should have followed and brought you 
back, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

And if you had not found me? 

SELYSETTE 

I should have spent my life seeking 
you. . 



. . 



gi Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

My fear is lest you should go before I do, 
Selysette — I am wondering whether 
that can be the idea you spoke of. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, for there would be sorrow in that, and 
my idea now is full of gladness. . . . 
I had thought, I too, of going away 
without saying a word, but now . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Now you will not go ? 

SELYSETTE 

No, no, Algavaine mine; I shall not leave 
the castle. . 



. . 



AGLAVAINE 

You promise me that, from the depths of 
your soul ? 

SELYSETTE 

From the depths of my soul, and by my 
eternal happiness, Aglavaine. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 93 

AGLAVAINE 

It had been better, perhaps, that I had 
never come. 



• • 



SELYSETTE 

In that case I had never been happy or un- 
happy, for I was nothing. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Perhaps it is not well to awaken those who 
slumber, above all when their sleep is 
innocent and sweet. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Surely it must be well, Aglavaine, since they 
never wish to slumber again. . . . 
When I think of the time when my 
eyes were sealed, I would fain hide 
myself for shame. . . . When I 
used to kiss Meleander I was only a 
little blind girl who did not know 
. . . but was it altogether my fault 
that I counted for so little? . . . 
Whereas now ... I looked at him 



94 Aglavaine and Selysette 

to-night as he lay asleep . . . and 
then ... I can tell you, Agla- 
vaine? . . . 



AGLAVAINE 

(embracing her) 
Selysette, my little Selysette. . 



•i 



SELYSETTE 

And then I kissed him, but he did not 
awake. . . . And I could see the 
stars in the blue of the windows; and 
I felt as though all those stars had 
come to me to build a heaven in my 
soul. . . . Oh my poor Aglavaine, 
you will never know — for you always 
knew. . . . But to be able to say, 
"I love you," to be able to say it with 
one's eyes open, to the man one loves ! 
... I understand now ... I 
know not why I am yearning all the 
time to go away or to die. .... I 



Aglavaine and Selysette 95 

am happy, and fain would I die, so as 
to be happier still. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

It is dangerous to think of death at mo- 
ments of too much happiness. . . . 
I will make a confession to you. 
. . . For one second the fear rushed 
across me that the idea you spoke of 
before . . . 

SELYSETTE 
AGLAVAINE 

That that might have been the idea. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You need not be afraid, Aglavaine, such an 
idea as that could come only to quite 
a little girl. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, it would be the idea of a blind little 
heart, to whom death might seem the 
one proof of love. . . . Whereas, 



96 Aglavaine and Selysctte 

*on the contrary, those who love must 
live; and the more we love, the more 
must we wish to live. . . . But 
apart from that, I knew that your love 
for us was far above that kind of love. 
. . . And surely it is only some one 
who longs to plunge two fellow-crea- 
tures into despair, who could devise 
anything so terribly cruel as to place an 
innocent death between them. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Shall I make a confession too, Agla- 
vaine? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Tell me everything, even as I have told you 
everything, my little Selysette. It is 
sweet to feel that there is nothing be- 
tween us, not even a flower wherein 
could hide a thought not shared by 
both. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I had thought of it for an instant. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 97 

AGLAVAINE 

Of death? 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, long ago. . . . But I at once told 
myself all you have just told me ; and 
then something else came to me. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

And that is ? 

SELYSETTE 

Oh something quite different, and it is on 
the side of life. . . . But the time 
for telling is not yet. . . . You 
shall see. ... I kiss you, Agla- 
vaine. ... I feel I know not what 
. . . it is as though my soul — was 
it you who said it ? . . .as though 
my soul were leaping within me. . . . 
And now I know at last what you' 
would do if you were I. . . . 

(They go out with their arms 
about each other.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 99 

ACT FOUR 

Scene I. — A terrace ovtfivoking the sea 

(Aglavaine and Selysette enter and 

meet each other.) 

AGLAVAINE 

The sun is rising over the sea, Selysette; 
and the waves are full of joy in their 
tranquillity. The fragrance and 
limpid silence of the dawn make one 
feel as though one were alone in the 
world, and there is something of the 
dawn in every word one says ; is it not 
so? The day will be very beautiful. 
Shall it be the day of my departure? 

SELYSETTE 

No, no ; you shall not go. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I came to meet you because I saw you just 
now from the window of my room. I 
was frightened, Selysette. . . . 



ioo Aglavaine and Selysette 

You were leaning over, nearly all your 
body was leaning over the crumbling 
old wall at the top of the tower. I 
imagined for a moment that the stones 
were giving way. I turned pale, pale 
— there was a chill at my heart that I 
had never known before. I felt my 
life trembling on my lips. ... I 
opened the window and screamed to 
warn you ; but you did not understand. 
. . . Destiny is capricious — you do 
wrong to tempt it thus. What were 
you doing up there ? This is the third 
time I have seen you on the tower. 
. . . Your hands seemed to be pull- 
ing at the stones. . . . What were 
you doing, Selysette ? You seemed to 
be seeking something in space. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, I was seeking something. . . . 
Have they not told you? . . . But 
first of all do not be frightened about 



Aglavaine and Selysette 101 

me, there is no cause. . . . My old 
tower is stronger than they think; it 
will outlive us all. Why speak ill of 
it? It has done no one any harm, so 
far; and the stones are fast; I know 
that better than any one. . . . But 
have you not noticed? Here is some- 
thing taking place so close to you, and 
you know nothing of it! . . . Five 
or six days ago a strange bird came 
to us, and it flies round and round my 
tower, and never seems to tire. . . . 
Its wings are green — a strange, pale 
green, inconceivably strange and pale. 
. . . And there is something else 
that is inconceivable, too; it seems to 
grow day by day. . . . None have 
been able to tell me from what coun- 
try it has come. ... I think it 
must have made its nest in a crevice 
in the wall ; it was there that you saw 
me bending over. . . . 



102 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

Is that the key of the tower, that great 
golden key with which you are play- 
ing? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yes ; you remember I let it fall the day you 
arrived. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Will you give it to me? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Give it to you? . . . Why? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I would like to keep it by me till I go. . • . 

SELYSETTE 

But why, Aglavaine? 

AGLAVAINE 

I scarcely know . . . Wait till I am far 
away before you go up there again, 

* 

Selysette, and leave the bird with the 
green wings alone. ? . . Last night 



Aglavaine and Selysette 103 

I dreamed, and the bird appeared in 
my dream. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Here is the key, Aglavaine. ... I don't 
mind giving it to you. . . . It is 
heavy. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes, it is very heavy. 

SELYSETTE 

Kiss me, Aglavaine. . . . Have I made 
you unhappy? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You have never yet made any one unhappy. 
. . . Your eyes are filled with 
tears. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I was looking at the sun, as I kissed you. 
. . . Kiss me again. ... I was 
going to Meleander, he told me he 
would be up early. . . . Good-bye, 
Aglavaine. . . . 



104 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

(slowly) 
Good-bye, Selysette. . . . 

(Selysette goes. Aglavaine 

waits till she is far away, 
then, going to the end of 
the terrace, she looks for an 
instant at the golden key 
and, with a sudden move- 
ment, flings it far away into 
the sea. Then she goes 
too.) 

Scene II. — A room in the castle 

(Meligrane is asleep at the back. Enter 
Selysette, holding little Yssaline 
by the hand.) 

SELYSETTE 

Let us kiss grandam first of all; for who 
will kiss her when we are gone ? And 
surely she needs our kisses no less than 
the others. . . . But say nothing to 



Aglavaine and Selysette 105 

her. . . . Aglavaine took away the 
key of my tower, because she was 
afraid. But I have found the other 
key — the one we thought was lost. 
And so we can go up without any one 
knowing, and I will capture the green 
bird. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Will you give it to me at once ? 

SELYSETTE 

I will give it to you if you say nothing. But 
be careful, I am going to awaken 
grandam. . . . Do I look unhappy, 
Yssaline? . . . 

YSSALINE 

Is there anything I can say that would make 
you happy, little sister? 

SELYSETTE 

You must tell me the truth. . . . 
Grandam must not imagine that I am 
unhappy. You see, often when one is 



106 Aglavaine and Selysette 

very happy people make mistakes and 
believe one has been crying. . . . 
You cannot see that I have been cry- 
ing? 

YSSALINE 

Let me look at you carefully, little sis- 
ter. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Can you see anything? 

YSSALINE 

You must come nearer to me, little sis- 
ter. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I will take you in my arms and kiss you. 
. . . You see nothing? . . . 

YSSALINE 

One never quite knows when you are crying, 
little sister; you do it so softly. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

But I have not been crying at all. . . . 
And remember, if they ask you to-day, 



Aglavaine and Selysette 107 

when you are alone, "What did she 
say, what did she do, was she pale, or 
sad?" you must not answer all at 
once if you see that they are fright- 
ened, or if those about you are too 
pale. . . . But you must tell them 
that I seemed to be happy, and indeed 
every one can see that I do nothing but 
smile, that I am smiling all the time; 
and we must always tell the truth. 
Now, be careful, for I am going to 
grandam. . . . Ah! how forsaken 
she looks! . . . (She imprints a 
long kiss upon Meligrane's lips.) 
Grandam. . . . (Meligrane does 
not awake.) It is I, grandam. . . . 
How heavily she sleeps. . . . 
Grandam, I am come to bid you 
good-bye. 

meligrane 
(awaking) 
Ah! it is you, Selysette? . . . 



108 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, grandam, Yssaline and I have come 
to kiss you, for we are going for a 
walk to-day. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Whither are you going? 

SELYSETTE 

I do not know yet, but we mean to go a lit- 
tle further than usual. . . . We 
shall not be back before evening. 
Have you all you need, grandam? 
Aglavaine will come and take care of 
you in my stead. Shall I arrange the 
cushions before I go? I am the only 
one who knows how to lift you with- 
out hurting you. But Aglavaine will 
learn. She is so good that she will 
know at once if you will only let her. 
. . . Shall I call her ? . . . 

MELIGRANE 

No, no ; I shall sleep till you return. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 109 

SELYSETTE 

Good-bye, grandam, good-bye. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Good-bye, Selysette; come back before the 
night. . . . 

(Selysette goes quickly, hold- 
ing little Yssaline by the 
hand. ) 

Scene III. — A corridor in the castle 
(Meleander meets Selysette, who is 
holding little Yssaline by the hand.) 

MELEANDER 

Where are you going so hurriedly, Sely- 
sette ? 

SELYSETTE 

Nowhere, Meleander. . . . We are 
seeking shelter from the sun. . . . 

MELEANDER 

In very truth this is a day when the stones 
seem to melt in the walls, and the sea 
to have turned into a fiery lake. The 
eternal freshness of the forest is noth- 



no Aglavaine and Selysette 

ing but the heated breath of a funeral 
pile; and the sun looks like a raging 
lion about to swallow up the sky. 
. . . Kiss me, Selysette, for if there 
linger yet any fragrance of the dawn 
it is surely to be found on your 
lips. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No; I have no time; they are waiting for 
me — you shall kiss me this even- 
ing. . . . 

MELEANDER 

What is the matter, Selysette ? 

SELYSETTE 

Ah I It is such a little thing and over so 
soon I . . . 

MELEANDER 

What do you say? 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing, nothing. . . . Kiss me 
quickly. . . . 

(She kisses him violently.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 1 1 1 

MELEANDER 

Ah! . . . my lip is bleeding. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What? 

MELEANDER 

A drop of blood. . . . Those beautiful 
little teeth of yours have wounded 
me, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Oh, I am a little . . . a little wolf. 
. . . Have I hurt you, Melean- 
der? . . . 

MELEANDER 

It is nothing. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Oh, I am a little ... a little wolf. 
. . . What time is it? 

MELEANDER 

Close on noon. 

SELYSETTE 

Noon ? Oh, I must hurry . . . they are 



112 Aglavaine and Selysette 

waiting, waiting. . . . Good-bye, 
my Meleander. 

MELEANDER 

Selysette, Selysette, where are you going? 

SELYSETTE 

(singing as she hastens away with little Ys- 

saline) 

When forth her love went 
(I heard the door close) 

When forth her love went 
She smiled. . . . 
(Meleander stands looking 
after her: then goes out.) 

Scene IV. — At the top of the tower 
(Enter Selysette and little Yssaline) 

SELYSETTE 

Here we are, Yssaline, in the turret of the 
tower, and now we must know what 
we have to do. . . . Oh the bright- 
ness there is this morning over earth 



Aglavaine and Selysette 113 

and sea and sky ! Why is this day so 
much more beautiful than other 
days? . . . 

YSSALINE 

Where is the green bird ? 

SELYSETTE 

He is there, but we cannot see him yet. 
... In a minute or two we will 
lean over the wall, but let us look 
around us first. One can see the cas- 
tle and the courtyards, the woods and 
the gardens. All the flowers have 
opened on the banks. . . . How 
green the grass is this morning! . . . 
I cannot see Aglavaine. . . . Oh 
look, there is Meleander. . . . He 
is waiting for her. . . . Bend 
down, we must hide; he must not 
know we are here. He is close to the 
well ; it was there that I awakened Ag- 
lavaine. . . . 



f 



114 Aglavaine and Selysette 

YSSALINE 

Look, little sister, look; come here. . . . 
I can see the gardener planting flowers 
round the house. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You will see them grow and you will see 
them open, Yssaline, and you will 
pluck them for me. . . . Come, 
come, it is more than I can bear. . • . 
Let us look from here; here there is 
only the sea, which is far away . . . 
(They go to the other side of the 
tower.) How beautiful the sea is 
tool ... In not a single corner is 
sorrow to be found to-day. . . . 
The sea is so green, so deep, so beauti- 
ful, that one's courage goes. . . . 
And whatever may happen, Yssaline, 
it will go on smiling just the same un- 
til nightfall. . . . Look at the lit- 
tle waves on the beach. ... I can- 



Aglavaine and Sclysette 1 1 5 

not, I tell you, I cannbt ! . . . The 
flowers and the sea will not let me. 
... I shall never be able to do it 
in the daylight. 

^^ YSSALINE 

Oh, here are the gulls, little sister, the gulls 
are coming ! Oh how many there are ! 
. . . how many! There must be 
two thousand! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

They have all flown here together from the 
far end of the sea. . . . They look 
as though they were bringing us 
news. ... 

YSSALINE 

No, no; it is fish they are bringing, little 
sister. . . . And their young ones 
are screaming, too, from their holes 
in the wall. . . . Their beaks are 
bigger than they are. . . . Look, 
look, do you see that great gull with 



1 1 6 Aglavaine and Selysette 

the eel? . . . Don't you see? 
. . . There, there. ... They 
have eaten it already. . . . And 
the others are over there too. . . . 
The big ones are eating nothing. 
. . . There again, did you see? 
. . . She kept nothing for herself. 
... Is she the mother, little sister? 

SELYSETTE 

What did I say to grandam, Yssaline? 

YSSALINE 

Why are you crying, little sister? 

SELYSETTE 

I am not crying, Yssaline — I am thinking, 
thinking. Did I kiss her before I 
went away? . . . 

YSSALINE 

Yes, you kissed her as you said good-bye. 

SELYSETTE 

How often did I kiss her? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 117 

YSSALINE 

Once, little sister, we had no time. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I fear I was not gentle enough. . . ,. 

YSSALINE 

We were in a great hurry, little sister. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no ; it must not be. . . . She will be 
quite alone, Yssaline, and this will 
ever linger in her mind. You see, if 
you have not been gentler than usual 
when you go away, they believe that 
you no longer love them. . . . 
Whereas it is the contrary they should 
believe; it is just when our love is too 
great that we are afraid to be gentle. 
. . . Though perhaps we are 
wrong; for whatever they do, and 
were they to live a thousand years, it 



1 1 8 Aglavaine and Selysette 

is only the last word we said to them 
that they can remember, ... I saw 
that myself when my mother went, 
... At the last moment of all she 
did not smile at me, and it comes back 
to me again and again that she did 
not smile. . . . And the rest of life 
seems scarcely to count. . . . And 
besides, what did I say of Aglavaine ? 
... I don't remember. I must see 
grandam again. . . . The others, 
it is for them; they must not know. 
. . . But she is quite alone; and it 
is not for her sake that I climb into 
the tower, not for her sake that I shall 
go down . . . you must see that it 
is impossible. . . . Come, come, we 
will go and kiss her very ten- 
derly. . . . 

( They go out. ) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 119 

Scene V. — A room in the castle 
(Meligrane is asleep. Selysette and 
little Yssaline come in.) 

selysette 
{waking Meligrane) 
Grandam. ... 

meligrane 
You are back at last, Selysette. ... I 
I have long been waiting for you. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Forgive me, grandam, I fear I was not as 
gentle as I should have been when I 
bade you good-bye. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Oh but you were, Selysette, you were very 
gentle. What is the matter? There 
is something on your mind. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

There is nothing on my mind, grandam. It 
is only that I feel I must tell you how 
I love you. .... 



120 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELIGRANE 

I know you do, Selysette. You have 
shown me your love again and again, 
and I never have doubted it. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, grandam, I know . . . but I myself 
have never known till now. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Come nearer to me, my child — you know 
that I can no longer embrace those I 
love, now that these poor arms of 
mine have ceased to do my bidding. 
. . . Put your arms round me again 
as I cannot put mine around you. . . . 
You seem strange to-day, Selysette. 
And so it is only now that you know 
you love me ? 

SELYSETTE 

Oh no ; I knew it, I knew it, but sometimes 
one knows a thing so long without 
knowing. . . . And then, one day, 



Aglavaine and Selysette 121 

we feel we have not been kind enough, 
that we might have done more, that 
we have not loved as we should have 
loved. And we want to begin again 
before it be too late. I have neither 
father nor mother, grandam, and had 
you not been there, I should have for- 
gotten what a mother might mean. 
. . . But you never forsook little 
Selysette, and it was a great joy to 
know there was some one to go to 
when I was unhappy. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

No, no, Selysette mine, it was you who did 
not abandon me. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No, no, grandam. ... I know full well 
that it is you who stayed on for my 
saiv€« • • • 

MELIGRANE 

You are strangely serious this afternoon, 



122 Aglavaine and Selysette 

Selysette, and for all that you do not 
seem sad. ... 



SELYSETTE 

I have always been very happy, grandam, 
and now I know the meaning of hap- 
piness. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

You do not mean that it has gone from you, 
Selysette ? 

SELYSETTE 

Far from that, I believe I have found it, 
grandam. . . . And tell me, have 
you been happy? 

MELIGRANE 

When, Selysette? 

SELYSETTE 

In the time that has gone, grandam. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Of what time do you speak, my child? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 123 

SELYSETTE 

The time when life was. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

There have come to me days of sorrow 
even as they come to all that live on 
this earth, but I may truly claim to 
have been happy, since you have never 
once left me. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You must not let me count for so much in 
your happiness, grandam. ... If 
you were to lose me you would still 
have Aglavaine. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

I have never lulled her to sleep on my knee, 
Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

But still you must love her, grandam. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

You love her, and therefore I love her, my 
child. . . . 



124 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

And most of all should you love her be- 
cause it was she who brought happi- 
ness to me. . . . She is so beauti- 
ful, she is so beautiful that ever since 
my heart has known of her, I have 
lived by her side with my eyes full of 
tears. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

How your hands burn to-day, Sely- 
sette. ... 

SELYSETTE 

It is because my happiness is too 
great. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

I love you, Selysette mine. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Have I ever been the cause of sorrow to 
you, grandam? 

MELIGRANE 

I cannot remember, my child. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 125 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, yes, you must needs remember . . . 
for we bring sorrow to all those we 

love. . . . But tell me, I beg of 

you, when it was that I hurt you the 

most. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

It was only when you cried that you sad- 
dened me; and then it was not your 
fault. ... I remember nothing 

CX&C • * » 

SELYSETTE 

I shall never cry again. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Ah, Selysette, happiness sways to and fro 
like the pendulum of a clock. But 
we do well to keep back our tears as 
long as we can. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You are right, grandam; and when happi- 



126 Aglavaine and Selysette 

ness shall have returned to you — to 
them and to you, grandam, get them 
to sit beside you one evening and tell 
them the story of a poor little 
girl. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

What are you saying, Selysette? 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing, nothing. ... I was thinking 
of the days when I was a little 
child. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

So do I often think of those days, Selysette. 
I was not ill, then, and I was able to 
carry you in my arms or run after you. 
. . . And thus, thanks to you, I 
have been a mother a second time, 
long after my beauty had left me; and 
some day you will know that women 
never weary of motherhood, that they 
would cherish death itself, did it fall 



Aglavaine and Selysette 127 

asleep on their knee. . . . But lit- 
tle by little all passes away, Selysette, 
and the very smallest soon cease to be 
small. . • • 

SELYSETTE 

I know it, grandam, and sorrow passes 
away, too, passes away and disappears. 
. . . But beauty remains and others 
are happy. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Who told you that, my child ? 

SELYSETTE 

I learned it from Aglavaine. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

How your eyes sparkle to-day, Sely- 
sette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

(stifling a sob) 
It is because I love all the world, 
grandam. . . . 



128 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELIGRANE 

I believe you are crying, my child? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Oh no, I am not crying ; and if one or two 
tears are falling, they are only tears 
of joy. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Put your arms around me, Selysette — 
closer, closer, and stay with me. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Little sister, I want to be kissed too. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

(Gently moving Yssaline away) 
No, no, Yssaline, she shall have all my 
kisses to-day. . . . The day will 
soon come when it will be your turn 
to have all the kisses. . . . Fare- 
well, grandam, farewell. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Selysette! . . . what is the matter? . . . 
. . . where are you going? . . # 



Aglavaine and Selysette 129 

SELYSETTE 

Farewell, grandam, farewell. . . . 

MELIGRANE 

Selysette, stay here. ... I won't have 
it. . . . You shall not go. . . . 
(She struggles in vain to rise and 
stretch out her arms.) I cannot, I 
cannot. . . . You see that I cannot, 
Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I, too, cannot, grandam . . . farewell 
. . . sleep in peace to-night and — 
do not dream . . . farewell, fare- 
well. . . . 

(She goes out quickly holding 
little Yssaline by the 
hand.) 

MELIGRANE 

Selysette! . . . Selysette! . . . 

(She is heard sobbing softly to 
herself as the light grows 
fainter and fainter. ) 



130 Aglavaine and Selysette 

Scene VI. — A Corridor in the Castle 
{Enter Selysette holding little Yssaline 
by the hand. She sees AGLAVAINE 
coming to meet her, and hides with 
little Yssaline behind one of the pil- 
lars which support the roof.) 

AGLAVAINE 

(drawing near) 
Is it you, Selysette? Why are you hiding? 

SELYSETTE 

I scarcely know, Aglavaine. ... I 
thought you would like to be 
alone. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Where were you going to, Selysette ? . . . 
And here is little Yssaline looking at 
me from the corners of her eyes. . . . 
Is there a plot between you? 

SELYSETTE 

I have made a promise that I must 
keep. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 131 

AGLAVAINE 

Whither were you dragging Selysette, 
Yssaline? (Yssaline does not an- 
swer.) Won't you tell me? 

SELYSETTE 

Oh, she knows how to keep a secret quite 
as well as though she were grown 
up. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

It may be the evening light, but you look 
very pale, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I want to kiss you, Aglavaine. . . . 

(They exchange a long kiss.) 

AGLAVAINE 

Oh, your lips are soft and sweet to-night, 
Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yours too, Aglavaine. ... I am very 
happy. . . . There is strength on 
your lips. . . . 



132 Aglavaine and Selysettc 

AGLAVAINE 

A light shines from you as from a 
lamp. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

You have not seen grandam? 

AGLAVAINE 

No. Shall I go to her ? 

SELYSETTE 

No, no; there is no need; she is asleep. 
. . .You were looking for Mele- 
ander ? 

AGLAVAINE 

Yes. And you, Selysette ? 

SELYSETTE 

When you see him, kiss him for me. . . . 
I am glad to think that it is you who 
will kiss him when I am not there. 
... I love you so much, so much ! 
. . . But see how impatient Ys- 
saline is, and how she is pulling my 



Aglavaine and Selysette 133 

hand. . . . Good-bye, Aglavaine 
mine ; you will see me soon. . . . 

(She goes with little Yssaline, 
and sings as she moves 
along.) 

When back he did fare 

(I heard the lamp burn) 

When back he did fare 

Another was there ... 

And I could see. . . . Ah ! Ah ! . . . 

(The song ceases suddenly and 
Aglavaine goes out.) 

Scene VII. — At the top of the Tower 
(Enter Selysette and little Yssaline) 

SELYSETTE 

And now the hour has come, my little Ys- 
saline. I shall not go down to them 
again ; I shall not smile gently at them 
any more. . . . How cold it is in 
the tower; the wind comes from the 



134 Aglavaine and Selysette 

north. See the light thaft it throws 
on the waves. . . . The flowers are 
hidden from sight, the voice of man- 
kind is still, and sadness hangs over 
all. . . . How different from this 

morning. . . . 

YSSALINE 

And where is the bird, little sister? 

SELYSETTE 

We must wait till the sun has sunk into the 
very depths of the sea, till the light 
lies dead on the horizon, for the bird 
is afraid of the light, and has never 
yet looked at the sun. . . . 

YSSALINE 

And if there should be any stars, little sis- 
ter? 

SELYSETTE 

And if there should be any stars? . . . 
(Looking at the sky.) There are no 



Aglavaine and Selysette 135 

stars yet, but they are all waiting, 
eager to peer through the sky ; and we 
must hasten, for it will be more terri- 
ble still when they are there. . . . 

YSSALINE 

I am very cold, little sister. . 

SELYSETTE 

Let us sit here ; the wall will keep the wind 
from us, and we will wait till the last 
gleam of crimson shall have died away 
in the sea. . . . How slowly the 
sun is sinking. . . . When it is gone 
I will look for the bird. . . . Let 
me wrap my white scarf about you ; I 
shall want it no more. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Why are you holding me so close to you, 
little sister? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Because my happiness is too much for me, 



136 Aglavaine and Selysette 

Yssaline; never have I been happier 
than I am to-day. . . ,. But look 
well at me. . . . I am smiling, I 
am sure I am smiling. . . . Why 
do you not smile at me ? . . . 

YSSALINE 

You are speaking so quickly, little sis- 
ter. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Am I speaking quickly? ... I have no 
time to lose. . . . 

YSSALINE 

And besides, you are tearing up all my 
flowers. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What flowers? Oh, these! ... I was 
forgetting that they were yours. . . . 

YSSALINE 

I will not have you cry, little sister. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

But I am not crying, my little Yssaline. 



Aglavaine and Selysette 137 

. . . That is the very last thing of 
all that any one must believe. . . . 
I am smiling so much that I seem to 
be crying. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Then why do your eyes seem to be cry- 
ing? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

How can I tell what my eyes choose to do ? 
. . . But remember this well : if you 
tell any one that I seemed to be sad, 
you will be punished for a long, long 
time. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Why? 

SELYSETTE 

You will know some day. And you must 
not ask me so many questions ; you are 
only a little girl who cannot yet un- 
derstand the things that are clear to 
others. I did not understand either 



138 Aglavaine and Selysette 

when I was your age, no, not until 
very long after. ... I may do this 
or that; but it is not the things you 
see that matter the most . . . 
Look you, my little Yssaline, I must 
not speak of it, though I should so 
much like to tell some one, for it is 
sad to be the only one who 
knows. . . . 

YSSALINE 

I can hardly see the sun now, little sis- 
ter. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Wait, wait yet a little, Yssaline ; for as the 
sun goes down, so does something else 
come nearer and the nearer it comes to 
me the more clearly do I see. ... I 
can no longer tell whether I have acted 
wisely in bringing you to the tower; 
but some one had to come with me, 
for they will want to know all that 



Aglavaine and Selysette 139 

took place, and they will be happy if 
only they do not know. . . . You 
do not understand a word of what I 
am saying to you now, little sister 
mine. . . . Yes, but a day will come 
when you will understand it all, when 
you will see all that you cannot see now 
that your eyes are beholding it. . . . 
And then you will be sorrowful, nor 
will you ever be able to forget what 
you are about to see. . . . But 
when you are a woman you will shed 
many tears because of this, and it may 
even weigh upon your life. . . . 
And therefore I ask you to-day to for- 
give me, though you know not why, 
for the suffering that will come upon 
you some time when you know too 
well. . . . 

YSSALINE 

The flocks are coming back, little sis- 
ter. ... 



140 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

They will come back to-morrow too, Ys- 
saline. 

YSSALINE 

Yes, little sister. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

And the birds will sing to-morrow. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Yes, little sister. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

And the flowers will open to-morrow. . . . 

YSSALINE 

Yes, yes, little sister. ... 

SELYSETTE 

Why had it to be the younger of the 
two? . . . 

YSSALINE 

There is only a little red line there now, 
little sister. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 141 

SELYSETTE 

You are right ; it is time. . . . You your- 
self are urging me to it; and the stars 
too are growing impatient. . . . 
Farewell, Yssaline. I am very, very 
happy. . . . 

YSSALINE 

So am I, little sister. Be quick, the stars 
are coming. . 



• • 



SELYSETTE 

Have no fear, Yssaline ; they will see me no 
more. . . . Come, sit in this cor- 
ner, and let me fasten my scarf around 
you, for the wind is very cold. . . . 
Do you really love me? No, no; do 
not answer; I know, I know. . . . 
I am going to roll up this big stone, so 
that you cannot go near the opening 
over which I mean to bend. . . . 
Do not be frightened if you should 
not see me any more. It will only 



142 Aglavaine and Selysette 

mean that I have had to go down the 
other side. . . . Do not wait for 
me; go down the stone staircase by 
yourself. . . . And, above all, do 
not try to see what I have done, do 
not go near this wall. . . . You 
would see nothing and you would be 
punished. ... I shall wait for you 
below. . . . Kiss me, Yssaline, and 
tell grandam. . . . 

YSSALINE 

What shall I tell her, little sister? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing, nothing. ... I thought I had 
forgotten something. . . . (She 
goes to the crumbling wall that faces 
the sea and leans over.) Oh, how 
deep and cold the sea looks! . . . 

YSSALINE 

Little sister? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 143 

SELYSETTE 

There it is; I see it. . . . Do not 



move. 



YSSALINE 



Where is it? . 



SELYSETTE 

Wait . . . wait ... I must bend 
over a little more. . . . Yssaline! 
. . . Yssaline! . . . The stones 
are trembling! ... I am falling! 
... Oh! 

(A side of the wall gives. The 
sound of a fall is heard, and 
a low cry of pain. Then a 
long silence.) 

YSSALINE 

(rising, in tears) 
Little sister! . . . little sister! . . . 
Where are you? ... I am fright- 
ened, little sister! . . . 

(She bursts out sobbing, alone in 
the turret.) 



Aglavaine and Selysette 145 



ACT FIFTH 

Scene I. — A Corridor in the Castle 
{Enter Aglavaine and Meleander) 

MELEANDER 

She has fallen asleep; but the doctors are 
going, and, pray as I might, I have 
not been able to draw a single word 
of hope from them. . . . She fell 
on to a hillock of sand, that the wind 
had swept to the foot of the tower, 
as though to receive her more ten- 
derly. It is there that the servants 
found her, whilst you were hoping to 
meet her on the road to the village. 
There is no wound to be seen on her 
poor little body; but a stream of blood 
flows from her lips; and when she 
opened her eyes she smiled at me, but 
said not a word. . . . 



146 Aglavaine and Selysettc 

AGLAVAINE 

But Yssaline? What does Yssaline say? 
They tell me she was with her. . . . 

MELEANDER 

I have questioned her. . . . She was 
found at the top of the tower, trem- 
bling with cold and fright. . . . 
She repeats, over and over again, 
through her tears, that the wall 
opened while Selysette was leaning 
over so as to lay hold of a bird that 
was passing. . . . When I met her 
this afternoon, here in the corridor— 
and it was on this very spot, between 
the pillars — she seemed less sad than 
usual. . . . "She seemed less sad 
than usual I" . . . Do we not both 
stand condemned by those words? 
. . . And now, when I think of all 
she has said to us, of all she has done, 
monstrous suspicions burst upon my 



Aglavaine and Selysette 147 

soul, and crush my life. . . . Love 
is as cruel as hate. . . . I no longer 
believe, I no longer believe. . . . 
And all my sorrow turns into loath* 
ing ! . . . Curses on the beauty that 
brings disaster with it ! . . . Curses 
on the mind that craves for too much 
beauty! . . . Curses on the destiny 
that is blind and deaf ! . . . And I 
curse the words that deceive and be- 
tray, and I curse the life that will not 
give ear to life! . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Meleander. ... 

MELEANDER 

What do you want of me? . . ., 

AGLAVAINE 

Come with me. ... I must see her, for 
it is not possible. . . . We must 
know. . . . She cannot have done 
it deliberately. She cannot, for in 
that case . . . 



148 Aglavaine and Selysette 

MELEANDER 

In that case ? 

AGLAVAINE 

We must know. . . . Come. . . . No 
matter how. . . . Her suffering 
must have been too great before she 
would have done that ! . . . And I 
would never again be able, never, 
never. . . . 

(She drags him away quickly.) 

Scene II. — SelysettSs Bedroom 

(Selysette lies upon her bed. Enter Ag- 
lavaine and Meleander.) 

SELYSETTE 

(with a slight movement) 

Is it you, Aglavaine? Is it you, Melean- 
der? — I was wanting you both so 
much. I am happy now you have 
come. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 149 

MELEANDER 

(bursting into tears as he throws himself 

upon the bed) 
Selysette! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What is the matter? . . . You are both 
crying. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Selysette! Selysette! . . . What have 
you done? . . . Oh wretch that I 
am ! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

What is the matter, Aglavaine? . . . 
Why are you so distressed? . . . 
Have I done anything to make you 
unhappy? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

No, no, my poor Selysette, you do not bring 
unhappiness. . . . It is I who bring 
death . . . it is I who have failed 
to do all that I should have done. . . • 



150 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

I do not understand, Aglavaine. . 
What has happened — tell me. . 



• i*i 



AGLAVAINE 

I ought to have known, Selysette, and I 
thought I did know, when I spoke to 
you the other day. . . . For many 
days past something has been unceas- 
ingly crying aloud in my heart, and I 
found nothing, and knew nothing, of 
what should be done — though it 
needed but the simplest word that the 
simplest creature on earth might have 
spoken to save a life that only craved 
to live. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

\ 
What did you know? tell me . . ... 

AGLAVAINE 

When you spoke of that idea of yours, the 
other day, Selysette , , , and this 



Aglavaine and Selysette 151 

morning, and again this afternoon, I 
should have held you close to me, so 
close that it should have fallen be- 
tween us like a pressed-out grape. 
... I should have plunged my two 
hands into your soul, and dragged 
forth the death that I felt was living 
there. ... I should have achieved 
something by dint of love . . . and 
I knew of nothing I could do, and I 
looked on and was blind to it all, 
though I saw everything, everything! 
. . . The wretchedest girl of this 
wretched village would have found a 
kiss that should save life for us ! . . . 
I have been either unutterably base or 
unutterably blind! . . . The first 
time, perhaps that I have fled from 
the truth like a child! . . . And I 
dare not look into myself. . . ., 
Forgive me, Selysette; I shall never 
be happy again. 



152 Aglavaine and Selysette 

SELYSETTE 

Listen to me, Aglavaine. I am very glad 
that you have come to me at once, for 
I feel that ere long my mind will wan- 
der from me. . . . There is some- 
thing here which presses on my eye- 
lids. . . . But whatever I may say, 
later on — I cannot tell what I may say 
— you know the strange fancies that 
flit across the dying. ... I was at a 
death-bed once, and it is my turn now. 
. . . Well, whatever I may say 
later on, pay no heed. . . . But at 
present I know what I am saying ; and 
do you listen to that only, and recall 
that only, and that alone. . . . 
Surely there lingers not a doubt within 
you, Aglavaine? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Of what should I be in doubt, my poor 
Selysette ? 



Aglavaine and Selysette 153 

SELYSETTE 

Do you imagine that . . . ? 

AGLAVAINE 

A v3« • • • 

SELYSETTE 

That it was not by accident I fell? 

AGLAVAINE 

I know it was not, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

We are told that falsehood is impossible to 
those who are dying, Aglavaine, and 
I mean to tell you the truth. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I knew that, from the love you bore us, you 
would be strong enough for that. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

It was an accident, and I fell, Aglavaine. 
— Is it you who are sobbing, Melean- 
der? 



154 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

Listen now to me, Selysette. . . . You 
know that the truth is known to us. 
. . . And if at this moment I ques- 
tion you, it is not from doubt of mine, 
but it is so that you, you, should doubt 
no more. . . . You are very beauti- 
ful, Selysette, and I am on my knees be- 
fore you. . . . The thing that you 
have done, so simply, is the most 
beautiful thing whereof love is capa- 
ble when love is blind. . . . But 
now I ask you to do something more 
beautiful still, and I ask it in the name 
of a wiser love. . . . Locked be- 
tween your lips, there lies the perfect 
peace of all our life. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Of what peace do you speak, Aglavaine? 

AGLAVAINE 

Of one that is deep and very sad. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 155 

SELYSETTE 

But how can I give it to you, Aglavaine? 
There is nothing in me. ... 

AGLAVAINE 

You need but tell us that you wished to die, 
thinking thus to make us happy. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Gladly would I say this to you, Aglavaine, 
but it is impossible, seeing that it is 
untrue. . . . You do not believe 
that one could tell an untruth on one's 
death-bed? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I beseech you, think not of death, Selysette. 
. . . See, I kiss you, and pour all 
my life into your veins, and flood your 
soul with the spirit of life ! ... If 
death were near I could understand 
the telling of this falsehood. . . . 
But death is far away, and all life is 
clamouring for the truth. . . . Ad- 



156 Aglavaine and Selysette 

mit it, Selysette ; and do not shake your 
head; speaking to each other as we 
are now speaking, can we possibly 
misunderstand ? 



• • • 



SELYSETTE 

And none the less you are wrong, Agla- 
vaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Must we weep far apart then, with thou- 
sands of miles between us? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Why will you not believe it to be true? 

AGLAVAINE 

Not even a child would believe it — for 
there is not a word of yours, not an 
act, but proves the contrary. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Which words and acts do you speak 
of? . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 157 

AGLAVAINE 

Why did you bid farewell to our grand- 
mother ? 

SELYSETTE 

I never left the house without first bidding 
her good-bye. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Why. . . . But why everything, Sely- 
sette ? . . . Oh, the misery of ques- 
tions such as these, when death is close 
by, and we know that the truth is 
there, to our hand, nestling beneath 
her heart! 



• • • 



SELYSETTE 

Your doubts sadden me, Aglavaine, and I 
was feeling so happy. . . . What 
can I do so that you shall doubt no 
more? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Give us the truth, Selysette. . . ., 



158 Aglavaine and Selysettc 

SELYSETTE 

But what is the truth you desire? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

It was I who, all unwittingly, urged you to 
this. ... 

SELYSETTE 

No, no, Aglavaine, urged was I by 
none. 



... 



AGLAVAINE 

• 

It needs but one word to dispel the clouds 
from life, and on my knees do I be- 
seech you to say this one poor word. 
. . . Whisper it to me if you will, 
let your eyes make a sign to me, and 
even Meleander shall never 
know. . . . 

MELEANDER 

Aglavaine is right, Selysette. ... I ask 
it, too. . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 159 

SELYSETTE 

I was leaning over, and I fell. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You asked me so often what I would do in 
your place. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I was leaning over, and I fell. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Do you not know why I question you 
thus? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, yes, Aglavaine mine, I can see that it 
would have been more beautiful, but 
it would not be the truth. 

AGLAVAINE 

(sobbing) 
Oh, God ! how poor we are before all those 
of simple love ! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Aglavaine! . . . 



160 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

Selysette! . . . What has happened? 
. . . You are turning pale. . . . 
Is the pain worse ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

No. ... It is the joy that makes me 
suffer. . . . Oh ! how you are weep- 
ing, Meleander! . . . 

MELEANDER 

Selysette! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Do not weep like this, my poor Melean- 
der. . . . Now indeed do we love 
each other. . . . There is no need 
for tears. . . . Soon I shall be dead, 
and there will be so glad a smile on 
my lips that you will scarce believe T 
can be dead, so happy shall I seem. 
. . . What? You crying too, Ag- 
lavaine? Is it not happiness, 
then? . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 161 

AGLAVAINE 

Give us the perfect peace, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I will give you the peace you gave me, Ag- 
lavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You could give it, but you will not. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

And yet is there such great peace within 
me, Aglavaine. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(sobbing) 

God Himself were wrong before you, Sely- 
sette. . 



• • 



SELYSETTE 

(with a change in her voice) 
But why are you going, said my grandam 
to me, why go away, my child? Be- 
cause of a key I have found, grandam, 
because of a key I have found, . , •. 



1 62 Aglavaine and Selysette 

AGLAVAINE 

Selysette! . . . 

SELYSETTE 

(coming to herself) 

Yssaline! . . . What was I saying? 
Tell me what I said . . . it is not 
true ... I warned you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

You said nothing, nothing. . . . Do not 
torment yourself, Selysette. . .* . 

SELYSETTE 

I warned you. ... I may perhaps be 
saying things soon, but they will not 
be true. . . . You will forgive me, 
for my soul is growing so weak. • . . 
Did I speak of grandam? . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

JL v3i ... 

SELYSETTE 

Yes, I wanted to tell you. . . . You must 
raise her without touching her arms. 



Aglavaine and Selysette 163 

... I would have taught you, but 
time, time would not allow. Oh ! Ag- 
lavaine, be careful ! . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

(alarmed) 
What is it, what is it, Selysette ? . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Nothing, nothing; it is going. ... I 
thought I was about to say things that 
were not true. 



... 



AGLAVAINE 

I will not seek for the truth any more, Sely- 
sette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

Put your hand over my mouth when I say 
things that are untrue. . . . Prom- 
ise, promise, I beseech you. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

I promise, Selysette. . . . 



164 Aglavaine and Sclysctte 

SELYSETTE 

(to Meleander) 

I have something to say to her, Meleander. 
. . . (Meleander goes away 
silently.) He is sad, he is sad. . . . 
You will tell him some day, by-and-by, 
when he has forgotten . . . put 
your hand on my lips, Aglavaine, a 
sudden pain has come to me. . . . 

AGLAVAINE 

Tell me, tell me, Selysette. . . . 

SELYSETTE 

I have forgotten what I had to say. . . . 
It was not truth, but falsehood, that 
was coming. . . . Put your hand 
over my eyes, too. . . . It is well 
that they should be closed by you who 
opened them. . . . It is true; it is 
true. 

AGLAVAINE 

Selysette! . . . 



Aglavaine and Selysette 165 

SELYSETTE 

(very faintly) 

I was ... I was leaning over, and I 
fell. . . . 

(She dies.) 

AGLAVAINE 

(with a sob) 
Meleander. . . . 

MELEANDER 

(falls, sobbing, on to Selysette's body) 
Selysette! . . . 

MAR 3 - 1916 

THE END 



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